Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 10th January 2018

1) Vote Yes, Vote Now – Your Pension Under Attack

Happy New Year. And we start where we left off. Last chance to save your pension. VOTE YES to strike action. VOTE YES to action short of a strike:

If you haven’t already, please vote in the USS strike ballot. The ballot closes and the result is announced on 19th January.

UUK and UCU negotiators meet on 23rd January. It is imperative our negotiators go into that meeting with the strongest negotiating hand possible.

If you haven’t got your ballot papers, please order a replacement ballot asap:

NB any new members who join by 12 January can still vote in the ballot.

2) Bristol USS Letter

Before Christmas, Bristol UCU sent an open letter to the VC, signed by staff across the University, posing a number of critical questions as regards the University’s formal position. As pointed out in Bristol UCU Newsflash, 29th November ‘University of Bristol management … are with the UUK hawks’.

We received a response on 20th December. As promised in the all members email on 20th December, ‘USS – response to our open letter and USS Christmas reading’, we have drafted a response to the VC’s letter:

3) Lobbying Bristol MPs – Defend Academic Pensions

Bristol UCU has lobbied local Labour MPs to secure their USS support, following the supportive comments of shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner. See our letter to Thangam Debbonaire:

Sadly no Bristol MP (as of yet) has signed the USS Early Day Motion ‘Defending Academic Pensions’. If a constituent, please lobby your local MP – Karin Smyth, Thangam Debbonaire, Darren Jones or Kerry McCarthy.

4) ‘…new and untested model’ – Residential Life Service Restructuring

Following proposals to radically alter University Halls of Residences and the provision of student support, Bristol UCU is currently representing a number of members – Wardens, Deputy Wardens and Senior Residents.

Wardens have drafted a short statement, noting the ‘substantial changes to the existing system, removing all Warden, Deputy Warden, Student Support Adviser/Administrator posts, and massively reducing Senior Resident opportunities for students’.

The statement also highlights that ‘it is very likely that at least 90% of the existing members of the pastoral teams will be lost in the restructuring, which represents not just a wasteful loss of many years of invaluable experience but this loss is also a threat to student well-being’.

‘The under-resourcing of pastoral support within the residences will undoubtedly have knock-on effects for workload and effectiveness of academic schools and other services within the University. The new and untested model appears to have been devised without reference to actual incident data from within the residences’.

The statement also highlights the ongoing consultation, where further details of the proposals and an opportunity to contribute views can be found:

Bristol UCU would strongly encourage members who share these concerns, and wish to offer support to the
pastoral teams in the residences, to direct their feedback to .

5) University of Bristol Equal Pay Claim

With the help of national UCU negotiators, Bristol UCU reps are currently drafting a ‘Gender Pay Gap’ claim.

The claim looks to eliminate the gender pay gap at Bristol, committing the University to eliminate the gap within 3 years.

6) Reminder: General Meeting, 24th January

We have a GM in a couple of weeks, 24th January, 1.00 – 2.00, LT3 Arts Complex. Two agenda items: USS and the Gender Pay Claim.