Bristol UCU Newsflash, 18th April: 2018/19 Term Dates – Easter 2019, Length of the Teaching Day, USS & Next Steps, Pay Claim, HPT? Grade I or below? – Local Hardship Fund

Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 18th April 2018

1) 2018/19 Term Dates – Easter 2019

Worrying news was brought to UCU Branch Reps attention last week regarding the complete overlap of Teaching Block 2 with school holidays at Easter next year. This prompted our members’ survey last week which now has over 400 responses.

The responses overwhelming support a change to the planned term dates for family, religious and work reasons (conferences, field trips, etc).

The Branch Officers consider this to be of such significant detriment to staff (and students) that we may have to invoke our dispute procedure, if UMT refuse to meet urgently to discuss the situation.

In addition, we urge all members to contact the Vice-Chancellor ( and other members of the UMT to express their concerns (so much for the VC’s ‘lightning rod!’)

2) Length of the 2018-19 Teaching Day

We note that length of the teaching day will be discussed again by Senate next Monday.

There is no new paperwork being presented, merely a presentation by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, so we have no idea what is being proposed.

While it does appear that the proposals to extend the teaching day have been shelved, Bristol UCU Reps are still seeking clarification on the exact nature of any proposed changes.

3) USS and Next Steps

With industrial action suspended for the Summer assessment and vacation period, and UCU and UUK currently negotiating the terms and composition of the Joint Expert Panel, our round of strike action may be over, but that doesn’t mean a ‘return to normal’! The Great University Strike has ‘demonstrated a disconnect between those running our universities and staff and students’.

As highlighted last week by Branch President Tracey Hooper, now is the time to be bold as a branch. ‘We are transformed. Now, we are powerful, we are strong, we are unified; we ARE the University and we will make change happen’.

Having seen off UUK’s imposition of Defined Contribution pensions, having reversed the formal policy position of this University (and many others), now is the time to build on our successes.

There’s certainly a lot to do: gender pay gap and workload negotiations; representing members caught up in Professional Services restructurings; making the UCU case in the current promotion and progression review. To name but three.

Branch Officers and Reps are discussing a host of initiatives to build on our current collective strength. The University position on USS to be negotiated locally with UCU; a democratic reformation of University governance; a reduction in precarious, casual contracts: all ideas and proposals that as a branch we need to work together to enact.

Important events coming up include a Branch Executive next week, to which all School/Division Reps are invited, a Bristol UCU ‘Conference’ to set the campus agenda sometime in the Summer, a lunch time event on May Day to mark International Workers’ Day and our Annual General Meeting on 9th May, with Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary, in attendance.

4) Pay Claim

Bristol UCU members will have now seen the formal reply to our pay claim for 2019/2020. We – along with the other campus trade unions – asked for a 7.5% rise. Employers – represented by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association – are offering 1.7%. Talks continue. The next UCU and UCEA meeting is Thursday, 10 May.

UCU’s claim reflects the fact that since 2009, our cumulative loss in pay is 17%. If inflation increases as predicted, by the end of 2018 the total real terms decline in pay since 2009/10 will be 19.3%.

The claim also demands that universities commit to closing the gender pay gap by 2020, to partially compensate for the significant unpaid and unrewarded work undertaken by staff and to new institution-level action plans to create greater security of employment i.e. to commit to moving more research staff onto open-ended contracts.

If we’ve been fighting recently to secure our deferred pay, now is the time to secure our take home pay!

5) HPT? Grade I or below? – Local Hardship Fund

Don’t forget: if you’re are a Hourly-Paid Teacher or on Grade I (a Teaching Associate, for example), for example, and took USS strike action, then you can claim from our Local Hardship Fund now.

For more information on how to claim:

Your Newsflash Team