Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 2nd February 2017

1) NSS Boycott

At our General Meeting last week, Bristol UCU passed a motion [PDF], resolving to support Bristol Students’ Union in their boycotting of the National Student Survey in order to oppose the Teaching Excellence Framework.

As of a couple of days ago, academic staff are being instructed via their Heads of School that University management ‘do not consider the actions proposed by UCU in relation to supporting the NUS boycott to be consistent with the contractual obligations of staff’.

The threat of such heavy-handed ‘gagging’ is unsettling for staff, and Bristol UCU has written a letter challenging what we consider an unnecessary escalation.

In the short term, national UCU has produced a list of FAQs. Members should write to their Heads of School asking them for clarification (as well as expressing their disquiet).

2) Xmas Bonus

Before Christmas in a meeting with the VC and the Registrar, representatives from the campus joint unions – UCU, Unite and Unison – formally requested a staff £100 Xmas bonus.

We argued that this was highly affordable and reflected the collective contribution of staff. Seeing as the University has a large surplus, and staff are working longer and harder to generate said surplus, it seemed only fair.

The answer was no.

3) Branch Priorities – Vision & Strategy

For further information about our workload, progression & promotion and gender equality priorities:

4) Voluntary Severance Scheme

Further to the discussion at our General Meeting next week, Bristol UCU has written to the Director of Human Resources, and the Deans of Biomedical and Health Sciences, with regard to the current 6-month salary as severance payment currently on offer in those Faculties.

We noted that our membership considers this scheme to be a detrimental change to the University’s custom and practice, and ​sets ​a dangerous precedent for future restructurings.

This is not the 12-month payment which UCU consider the norm and the custom and practice in previous voluntary severance scenarios.

5) UCU Elections

It’s important election time. The UCU General Secretary position is up for grabs, as are a host of other National Executive Committee elections:

The two candidates for General Secretary are:

Sally Hunt:

Jo McNelil:

6) Dawn Holdman, University of Liverpool

Please sign this petition, calling on the University of Liverpool to reinstate UCU rep Dawn Holdman:

7) UCU Day of Action on Workplace Racism, 8th February

On 8 February 2017 UCU has a day of action against workplace racism.

‘…you’re really articulate for a black person’

‘…but where are you REALLY from?’

‘…although it seems very minor, consistent and persistent misspelling of my name. If you can learn Dostoyevsky…’

Extracts from the UCU survey into the experiences of black workers in FE/HE, 2015

The campaign aims to highlight the issues faced in our workplaces by black workers in HE and FE and to raise the profile and progression of race equality in the union