Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 5th June 2019

1. Report from Congress

UCU Congress, held over the recent Bank Holiday weekend, made a number of important decisions as regards pensions, pay, academic freedom, the representation of migrant members and many other important policy issues. It also welcomed the newly elected UCU General Secretary Jo Grady to her new role.

The headline as regards pensions is the decision to ballot for industrial action over the proposed changes to USS, namely the rise in contributions planned for October. If employers, in the guise of Universities UK, have not agreed to pay 100% of planned contributions increases by Saturday, 1st June, we are initiating an immediate campaign for industrial action, with a ballot commencing 1st September 2019, recommending members vote to take action.

For a report of Congress by Bristol UCU delegates, please see our ‘Bristol UCU Congress Report 2019’ blog post:

Bristol UCU Congress Report 2019

2. REF2021 Code of Practice

Congress confirmed UCU’s existing policy on institutions in their REF’s Code of Practice making clear that they will not submit outputs from staff who have been made redundant. Instead, REF-participating institutions should make it clear that only staff who have left on ‘good terms’ – given notice, left voluntary, retired – are to be included, or researcher consent is sought before their work is formally submitted.

As confirmed at our recent negotiation meeting, unlike other universities such as Birkbeck, University of London and Southampton, the University of Bristol has declined to change its Code of Practice accordingly. The branch has written to the University, again calling for it to amend its Code of Practice and will be lobbying Senate to make the appropriate revisions.

For more details on the Bristol UCU position, see our ‘Bristol UCU Response – University of Bristol REF2021 Code of Practice’ blog post:

Bristol UCU Response – University of Bristol REF2021 Code of Practice

3. Senate House and Trinity College Cambridge Boycotts

A motion was passed at Congress for UCU to formally support the boycott of University of London’s Senate House in support of their Campaign against Outsourcing. More information about the campaign here.

A motion was also passed to boycott Trinity College Cambridge in response to its proposal to withdraw from the USS pension scheme which potentially weakens the fund for remaining members.

We would like to strongly encourage all UCU members to refuse any speaking engagements and other voluntary roles at or with Trinity College and Senate House while these boycotts are in effect.

4. Reinstate David Muritu, Sandwell College – Please Sign

UCU has launched a petition calling on Sandwell College to immediately reinstate David Muritu:

David is UCU branch secretary at Sandwell and an experienced trade union rep, playing a key role in negotiating a landmark pay deal for staff last year. The college sacked David last Wednesday for gross misconduct – he drew on a poster promoting the controversial Prevent programme. David admitted drawing on the poster and apologised for his actions.

This heavy-handed, disproportionate response from the college is due to David’s trade union activities. We will not stand by as trade union representatives are victimised.