Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 25th April 2018: May 1st, Easter 2019, Gender Pay Gap, #wearetheUniversity 11th June, Celia Hollingworth Memorial

1) May 1st – Bristol TUC March and Bristol UCU Lunch

Assembling at Castle Park at 12:00, trade unionists across Bristol will be marching on International Workers’ Day. For more details:

Lucy Langley-Palmer will be speaking at the Rally at 13:00 – Branch Equalities Officer and Bristol People’s Assembly MC extraordinaire.

On the same day Bristol UCU will also be having an outdoor BYO lunch (weather permitting) at 13:00 in Royal Fort by Celia’s bench (see below) for those who cannot make the march. You’re more than welcome. Email if you’re coming along.

2) Easter 2019

According to our Bristol UCU Branch Survey, 84.1% (366) of members who responded were not aware that the current arrangements for TB2 2019 mean that local school holidays are in University term time next year.

These unpopular, highly detrimental changes have not been sufficiently discussed or deliberated on amongst those that they affect the most, University of Bristol staff:

‘As a single working parent caring for a 7 year old child I will be significantly affected in my ability to manage over the holiday period’

‘I usually teach in TB2 so this means that I won’t be able to have a holiday with my children. Also will cost us for arranging childcare for the period’

‘This won’t affect me personally but it would be an unnecessary and stressful strain on colleagues and students with school-going children’

As our next step, Bristol UCU Officers have written to members of the University Management Team and the Academic Registrar asking for the UMT to reconsider the current TB2 timetabling arrangements. We have also sent a list of alternative proposals and potential mitigations.

We have also noted that the branch is prepared to consider entering into a dispute with University, if suitable timetabling amendments or mitigations are not made.

3) Gender Pay Gap

There is a huge gap between men and women’s pay at the University of Bristol, around 13% in the case of academic staff, for example. We know it, management know it, but the progress to close the gender pay gap (GPG) is agonisingly slow. That is why Bristol UCU have submitted a formal claim to the Vice-Chancellor to provide a starting point for meaningful action to close the gap.

We thank the many women members who provided comments and amendments to earlier drafts of the claim, and who took time out during the strike and attended our special meeting on International Women’s Day.

Bristol UCU has submitted a Gender Pay Claim, asking for:

  • Time-limited negotiations
  • Leadership, resources, training and key performance indicators necessary to eliminate the GPG within three years
  • Action to stop discriminatory practices when dishing out recruitment and retention premia
  • Action to address the loss of women across the career pipeline, including targeted mentoring and development
  • More opportunities for part-time and flexible working practices

The Vice-Chancellor acknowledged our claim on 8 March. We are pushing for a meeting to discuss the claim and a timetable for negotiations.

There will be an update at the AGM on 9 May. At the current rate of progress, it will take Bristol University about 50 years to close the gap.

4) #wearetheUniversity, Monday 11th June

A date for the diary. Bristol UCU hosts #wearetheUniversity, a half-day conference/workshop to set the Bristol UCU agenda on a range of issues – anti-casualisation; workload; campaigning ideas for the recent gender pay claim; reforming University governance; the alternative to our managerialist culture.

If you would like to be on the organising committee, email

Lunch will be provided. Further details tbc.

5) Celia Hollingworth’s Memorial, 12th April

This was a lovely memorial for Celia with friends and colleagues from all walks of Celia’s life there to celebrate her contribution to Bristol University. Celia’s Mum, Mary, and brother Matthew were extremely touched.

Celia’s bench is in a great location on the outer pathway – do find it and have a sit down. The inscription reads “There are two flames burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope you can build a better world” [Tony Benn 2008].

Your Newsflash Team