Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 17th January 2018

1) General Meeting, 13:00-14:00, Wednesday, 24th January, Arts Complex LT3, Woodland Road

Bristol UCU has its first GM of the New Year next week:

On the agenda we have two items of business: USS and Gender Pay Claim.

2) USS

The ballot result is announced on Monday 22nd January.

UCU’s Higher Education Committee meets on the same day, to discuss the result and to agree a course of industrial action based on the assumption that there is no acceptable offer from the employers at the Joint Negotiating Committee with Universities UK the following day, Tuesday 23rd January.

As pointed out in yesterday’s email from Branch President Tracey Hooper, across UCU and HE there is widespread ‘incredulity’ at University managements’ ‘intransigence’ and an appetite for ‘substantial and sustained industrial action’.

As pointed out by UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt, ‘intermittent one-day strikes will not work to budge the employers. That is why if you vote in favour of action, and there is no settlement, UCU will be calling sustained strike action aimed at massively disrupting lectures, classes and the administrative life of your institution next year’.

Members should prepare themselves for imminent industrial action. Our earliest possible strike day could be Tuesday 6th February. Whilst no decisions have been made, we need to be prepared for a number of strike days that week, and possibly every following week, going into March.

A strike fund for casualised and hourly-paid staff will be available as in previous disputes.

3) Gender Pay Claim

The University Strategy has the objective from 2016 to ‘eliminate the gender pay gap within the professoriate within the lifetime of the plan’.

UCU welcomes this objective, but proposes a more ambitious target: to eliminate the Gender Pay Gap across all academic and related grades within a timeframe of three years. Branch officers and reps have been working with national officials to draft and launch an official claim.

An enabling motion will be circulated ahead of the GM next week to be discussed at the meeting.

4) UCU News

USS sage Michael Otsuka outlines how employers such as Bristol ‘tethered the scheme to a highly restrictive interpretation of an already ill-justified and self-defeating Test 1 ‘self-sufficiency’ measure of risk’, thus excluding the possibility of keeping ‘the current scheme afloat between this valuation and the next one, via a modest increase in contributions’:

On 28 February 2018 UCU will be holding a day of action against workplace racism:

A lecture by Dr Steve Joy, specialist careers adviser for PhDs and post-docs, Early Career blogger and former University of Cambridge careers service:

Before Jo Johnson and Sam Gyimah, there was David Willetts. A review on the excellent HE Marketisation blog of a book by the architect of many of HE’s woes, VCs’ friend Baron Willetts of Havant: