Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 12th September 2018

1) Gender Pay Claim Negotiations

The first of three formal negotiation meetings on our Gender Pay Gap Claim took place yesterday (11th September). Please look out for a separate update on that, coming soon.

In the meantime a date for your diaries: 1st November is the day the University effectively stops paying women because of the Gender Pay Gap, so we will be marking the day with an evening event celebrating women in the workplace. More details to follow.

2) USS Update

UCU and USS members await the publication of the Joint Evaluation Panel (JEP) report at the end of September. USS members will also have received a letter notifying them of the USS Employer Consultation (‘Notice of Statutory Consultation by Employers in Relation to USS’)

What to expect from the JEP? What should I put in my Consultation response? What’s the University of Bristol position? Any UCU advice?

For answers to those questions and more, see our Bristol UCU blog post JEP, Consultation and Contingent Contributions – USS Update:

3) Tier 4 Student Monitoring

One issue of concern for members is the duties placed on staff to monitor their tier 4 students, that is, international students with a visa to study in the UK, in our current HE ‘hostile environment’.

For example, one member writes ‘I object quite strongly to the current student monitoring policies and procedures, and am extremely concerned by attempts to turn HE institutions into a wing of border control. It is quite challenging to lecture students on structural violence while also manifesting a working example of the concept’. Another member ‘objects to the discriminatory treatment to which these students are subjected’.

Bristol UCU has approached relevant University parties to discuss the University’s current approach. This is a not a matter that Bristol has hitherto been involved in detailed discussions over. Bristol UCU reps are keen to explore whether there is any scope for members not to undertake activities – a UCU briefing document goes into some detail here [link] – which they consider discriminatory with respect of obligations placed on the University with regard to maintaining its highly trusted sponsor status.

4) Reimbursement of Strike Pay Deductions

Members may be aware of the University’s commitment to reimburse some pay docked in previous strike actions. This follows the acknowledgement that pay docked for taking strike action should be calculated on a 1/365 basis, not 1/260 as was the case in previous University strikes.

See Newsflash, 6th May for further information:

As things stand, the action to reimburse is currently with Payroll, and in a best case scenario, returned monies will be seen in September’s pay packet.

5) Parking Policy

Have you been adversely affected by changes to the University of Bristol parking policy? If so, email with your experience.

It has come to Bristol UCU reps’ attention that because of space restrictions due to building work, qualifying points for a parking permit have been upped from 3 to 4 – a change not discussed or negotiated with the campus unions. This has meant that Bristol UCU officers have been informed of cases where members with caring responsibilities and poor transport links have not received permits.

If this is an issue that has affected a number of Bristol UCU members, and needs to be formally raised, needs to hear about it.

6) UCU Caseworker Training Session, Wednesday 31st October, 09:00-16:30, University of Bristol

Our UCU South West Regional Office hosts a 1-day Casework Training Session for all interested Bristol UCU members on Wednesday, 31st October, starting at 9am.

This Session gives a brief introduction to the role of the Caseworker, providing members with the skills to begin handling casework and to start help representing members in individual and collective cases.

Whilst our huge rise in membership is incredible, it does mean that we inevitably will have more individual and collective cases to handle, and we need your help. Being a caseworker can be hugely rewarding.

Email for further information and to express an interest in attending.