Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 31th October 2018

1) Reminder: TOMORROW, In Celebration of Women, On The Day They Stop Getting Paid

Tomorrow the University of Bristol effectively stops paying female staff for the rest of the year, a consequence of the 16.2% gender pay gap.

To mark this day, building on the huge success of our International Women’s Day event (which coincided with the submission of our Gender Pay Claim [link]), UCU invites you to an evening of poetry and ideas, in celebration of women in our community.

Please register at Eventbrite if you are planning to attend:

Speakers include:

  • Vicky Knight (President of UCU)
  • Lizzy Turner (Poet)
  • Caragh Wells (Senior Lecturer at Bristol University)
  • Nicola Heaney (Poet)
  • Sumita Mukherjee (Senior Lecturer at Bristol University)
  • Rebecca Pert (Writer, and winner of the Cheltenham Literature Festival First Novel competition)
  • Samantha Walton (Poet, and Reader in Modern Literature at Bath Spa University)

2) Pay and Pensions E-Survey – Higher Education Sector Conference, 7th November, Manchester

Higher Education Sector Conference [link] is next week. On the agenda: UCU policy on the union’s pay and equality campaign (where next after the recent ballot?) and on our position in the USS dispute following the publication of JEP Report. Attending the Manchester Conference for Bristol UCU will be Lucy Langley-Palmer (Branch Equality Officer), Suzy Cheeke (Branch Vice-President) and Jamie Melrose (Branch Secretary).

To give our reps a representative steer, Bristol UCU members are invited to fill in this very brief 2 question e-survey:

The survey closes at midnight Tuesday, 6 November.

3) Bristol UCU Response – Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Increasing the provision of support for wellbeing and mental health is a great step forward but there is a clear hole in the strategy…acknowledging the role the University may play in creating some (not all) problems

Yesterday Branch President Tracey Hooper invited members to contribute to a branch members survey on the current University Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy consultation:

Initial feedback is telling. One member writes ‘the University seems to push mental health issues as a completely individual problem, when the causes are sometimes related to work and systemic issues within the university’. Many other responses highlight the drivers of poor mental health and stress: precarious, short-term contracts, intensive internal University audits and ever increasing workload. Systematic causes as opposed to piecemeal cures is a key theme.

The survey closes at midnight on Monday, 5 November.

Mental health is not just about moments of crisis or about changing behaviours – it stems from actual working conditions too.