Back to Work, but Not As We Know it – Message from Your Branch President

Dear all

I hope everyone has had a relaxing weekend, and that you have not been preparing for classes or doing any kind of catching up – apart from reading UCU emails, of course.

I’d like to stress two points. Firstly, we are back to work tomorrow but we are continuing with Action Short of a Strike (ASOS). And, secondly, UCU is asking members who are external examiners to resign from these positions.

1) ASOS This Week

As a reminder this includes:

  • working to contract
  • not covering for absent colleagues
  • not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
  • not undertaking any voluntary activities

For full-time staff on grades I and below working to contract means 35 hours per week maximum. For those on grades J and above our workload agreement applies. This cites the working time directive maximum working week of 48 hours.

Remember that your working day should involve at least a 30 minute lunch break. Start putting lunch breaks in your calendar, and arrange to meet colleagues. Start to refuse meetings which don’t allow you a break. #reclaim your lunch break, #reclaim your evening, #reclaim your weekend.

If you are unsure about what is or isn’t included then please check out the national FAQs in the first instance.

If you are still unsure, then contact your School and Divisional Rep. If all else fails, contact

Whilst we understand that negotiations are due to continue this week, we are no further forward so we need to adhere strictly to ASOS to keep the pressure on. Alistair Jarvis wrote an unhelpful article in the times today (copied here because of the Times firewall). See Michael Otsuka’s great rebuttal.

Don’t forget to notify HR about your strike days. See last week’s Newsflash for guidance.

2) Resign your external examiner’s position – #resignforUSS

UCU is calling on staff to resign their external examiner’s positions. Bristol academics have already started doing so, and we would urge others to follow suit. Guidance is available.

With best wishes