Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 11th October 2017

1) USS Meeting, 1pm-2pm, TOMORROW, LT1, 43 Woodland Rd – Pauline Collins, Chair of UCU Superannuation Working Group

Bristol UCU hosts Pauline Collins, Chair of UCU’s Superannuation Working Group, at the centre of pension negotiations, tomorrow.

The meeting starts at 1pm, LT1 in 43 Woodland Road (Anthropology and Archaeology).

For the latest USS news, see:

2) Say No To DC

The University of Southampton [link] is the first University to call publicly for current USS pension benefits to be wholly replaced by a defined contribution (DC) scheme.

The current Defined Benefit (DB) scheme guarantees you a decent pension and provides certainty – you know how much you are going to get. A DC scheme would have both uncertainty and a much smaller pension. You know what you will pay (defined contribution), but not what your pension will be.

If other universities follow suit, UCU will need every member to stand together with their union and say NO.

Whether early career, mid-career, or thinking about retirement, this issue affects you – your retirement income is at stake.

UCU is fighting on your behalf to defend our pensions.

If you have not yet voted in the consultative e-ballot, vote now.

3) Personal Relationship Policy

Bristol UCU continues to be in discussion with HR about proposed changes to the Conflict of Interest Regulations pertaining to personal relationships.

Bristol UCU reps have argued against proposed changes which would mean the self-reporting of personal relationships the moment that they arise. This is far too intrusive an approach.

We have argued that as personal relationships are already declared in specific processes such as recruitment, progression, complaints and disciplinary matters, it is a question of clarifying those processes and broadening their definition.

Discussion is ongoing.

4) A Table We Won’t Be Looking To Climb – Results of National Senior Management Survey

The University of Bristol is in the top 30! Sandwiched between the Universities of Wolverhampton and Essex, 11.5% of University of Bristol staff surveyed are satisfied with how Bristol is being managed [PDF], according to the National Senior Management Survey.

This comes as little surprise. In the 2015 University of Bristol Staff Survey only 29% of staff were confident that their ideas and suggestions were heard by decision-makers.


5) Leeds and Manchester – Show Your Support

Leeds UCU is taking strike action today, tomorrow and Friday [link] over proposals to bring in ‘dismissal for some other substantial reason’ or SOSR.

This University of Leeds statute change would mean ‘a sackers charter’, allowing managers to dismiss staff for reasons other than existing, established grounds for dismissal such as redundancy, capability and conduct:

Bristol UCU will be making a £100 donation to Leeds UCU funds.

Bristol UCU has already made a £100 donation to University of Manchester UCU funds following the announcement of mass redundancies on spurious TEF-related grounds:

With just under 87% of UCU members voting in favour of strike action [link], it seems University of Manchester ‘leaders’ do not enjoy the confidence of their staff.

Message of support can be emailed to and

6) Celia Hollingsworth

An obituary by Past President Liz Bird: