Your Bristol UCU Strike Special Newsflash, 21st February 2018

1) Timetable – 22nd, 23rd, 26th & 27th February

TOMORROW, Thursday, 21st February

08:00: Picket lines outside University buildings
10:30: Rally at Senate House & March to Wills Memorial Building
11:30: Rally at Wills Memorial Building
12:30: Teach Outs, Woodlands Church, Woodland Road.

Professional Services pickets: either Senate House or the Arts & Social Sciences Library.

A list of picket lines [pdf] is on the Bristol UCU website.

If anyone arrives on campus and is unsure which picket to join, please head to Senate House and look for a UCU marshal in high viz for directions.

Friday, 23rd February

Full strike day: please stay at home.

Monday, 26th February

08:00: Picket lines outside University buildings
10:30: Rally, Senate House
13:30: Assemble, Wills Memorial Building
14:00: Senate begins
14:00-14:30: Rally, Wills Memorial Building

Tuesday, 27th February and Wednesday, 28th February

Full strike days: please stay at home.

2) Urgent: Message Regarding USS Contributions

Following the request that you need to inform if you want your USS employee contributions to continue whilst on strike, the branch recommends that USS members should send this message by midday today:

I am a member of UCU, however I have not yet decided whether I will take industrial action. I can however confirm that I would like to pay my USS contributions throughout the period of any action and that I would like the University to make the USS employer contributions.

3) Teach-Outs

A number of teach-outs have been organised for tomorrow in Woodlands Church, Belgrave Road, from 12:30–14:30.

Sessions include:

Lyric on a battlefield: Women, Work and Protest

To Be Free is To Participate: The Spirit of 68 Fifty Years On

“A history without you”: Levelling the Hilltop University

History, trade unions and human rights

Feel free to choose one or move between them.

SPAIS has also organised a teach- out, kicking off at 15:30 at the Bristol Folk House, Park Street on Monday, 26th February:

‘Do academics actually do any work? A tragi-comedy with lessons for YOUR future’ (15:30-16:30)

‘Strikes are good for you, well, some of you at any rate’ (16:30-17:30)

The Law School will be holding events on the following dates:

Tuesday 27th: ‘International law, Work, and the Right to Strike’ (12-13:30, Hydra Books)

Wednesday 28th: The Foundations of Conscientious Objection: Against Freedom and Autonomy’ (12-13:30); ‘Property, Housing and Squatting’ (15:00-16:30). Venue TBC

Tuesday 6th March: ‘Updates on Brexit’ (16.30-18:00 Hydra Books)

4) Strike Plans – Week 3 and Week 4

Monday, 5th March to Thursday, 8 March marks the next phase of UCU strike action. Wednesday, 7th March is undergraduate visit day. We will be picketing from 08:00, rallying at Senate House at 10:30.

Thursday, 8th March is International Women’s Day. Bristol UCU is hosting an event from 12:00:

Confirmed speakers include Joanna de Groot (President of UCU), Prof. Josie McLellan (History), Prof. Havi Carel (Philosophy & University EDI Champion) and Dr Susan Newman (UWE).

See our Gender Pay claim motion for information. Other activities on the 8th include an Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Choir and a Gender Research Centre cake and book sale.

Monday, 12 March – our final week of action – we will be picketing from 08:00, rallying at Senate House at 10:30 followed by a march to the Wills building.

5) Timetabling Proposals – Senate

Thanks to everyone involved in lobbying to remove the proposals on Timetabling from Senate’s agenda on Monday. The proposals will be discussed at a specially convened Senate – not on a strike day.

This now gives UCU reps a chance to discuss the proposals, ‘early dialogue with UCU colleagues on this pressing issue’ as the Deputy Vice Chancellor made clear.

In our letter to the DVC and the Director of HR we asked that ‘this proposal to Senate be withdrawn, and proper consultation and negotiation with UCU as the recognised trade union initiated’.

6) Bristol UCU #strikeforuss – Support and Publicity

Ken Loach send his regards:

…I fully support your actions and expect all who work and study in universities and higher education will not cross your picket line – that we only succeed with solidarity is a lesson that we must re-learn!

The current issue is but one of many that I know will concern you. Lecturers and tutors working on zero hours contracts and barely earning enough to pay income tax is another. This is one day in a long struggle.

Reporters from Sky and BBC should be live from the picket lines tomorrow.

We have a big mural!:

With the help of People’s Republic of Stoke Croft and the student volunteers who painted it, as you come into Bristol tomorrow on the M32, you should see ‘”Bristol Uni Pensions Axed! Support the Strike!’

7) Local Hardship Fund

At our EGM last week, we approved the setting up a Local Hardship Fund [pdf] and discussed the terms and conditions of the fund [pdf].

NB the branch agreed to focus on staff on precarious contracts. The Fund will cover Hourly-Paid Teachers and staff on and below Grade I as a matter of priority for the first three days that they take action.

Account details, for donations, will be released shortly.

8) Local Bristol UCU Resources

Need a powerpoint presentation to use at the start/end of lecture?

A proforma letter to students?

A student email to send to VC?

Want to see the branch response to the HR Director’s ‘threatening email’?

What are VCs getting paid to get rid of our pension scheme?

For these and more, see

Other branch sites include Sheffield and Leeds.

9) Do Non-Members Have to Cross the Picket Lines?

We are all breaking our contracts of employment by striking/not crossing picket lines but none of us (either members or non-members) can be dismissed because for doing so because we are taking legal industrial action.

The primary difference is that UCU members have the legal support of UCU should the University choose to take action regarding breach of contract.

If non-members refuse to cross picket lines then the University can deduct pay in the same way as it will for non-members.

For answers to this and further questions you may have, consult UCU’s FAQs: