Bristol UCU Newsflash, 2nd October 2019

Where are we with 3 branch negotiating priorities agreed earlier this year [link]? Branch negotiators believe that we have positive news to report.

1) Anti-Casualisation Claim

The branch’s Anti-Casualisation Claim negotiations have made steady progress since it was submitted in October last year.

We have seen the establishment of a joint University/UCU Special Interest Group to discuss the Claim, a joint statement of intent, committing the University to reduce casualised employment at this institution, and the Precarious Contracts Working Group, comprising UCU, the Chief People Officer, Head of HR Operations and two HR Project Officers tasked with supporting the work.

UCU negotiating efforts are currently focused on points xvi-xix of our Claim. UCU negotiators continue to press for equal redundancy rights for staff employed on fixed-term cover contracts, dismissed under our Some Other Substantial Reason ordinance. There have been some welcome, still to be confirmed, proposals from HR concerning Fixed-Term Contracts. UCU remains determined to fight for parity of treatment for all staff employed on FTCs.

2) Gender Pay Gap Claim

As reported in Newsflash, 18th September, ‘Bristol UCU negotiators are pleased to note that the University has responded positively to those areas of our Gender Pay Gap Claim [link] on which we were keen to see meaningful progress’. We also welcome the ‘Progress in reducing the professorial gender pay gap – one year on’ item in the University of Bristol Staff Bulletin, 26 September: ‘[s]ince 2018 we have worked alongside Bristol UCU to target specific areas which were identified as needing improvement’.

Those areas on which we were seeking meaningful progress (and consider we have seen evidence of meaningful progress) were:

  • Enabling and supporting transfer between pathways
  • A timetable for a joint review with UCU of flexible and part-time working, and the impact of these on progression and promotion
  • All posts being advertised as job share as the default/norm by start of academic year 2019/20
  • Clarification of the future governance of the gender pay issue, including confirmation of union representation

A draft Collective Agreement is currently being reviewed by the branch Executive Committee before it is tabled formally for the University to agree.

3) Workload Agreement and Principles

As reported in July’s Newsflash, ‘branch negotiators will be recommending to our Executive Committee the revised University of Bristol and Bristol UCU Workload Agreement [link] as well as the accompanying Workload Allocation Principles’.

Subject to its formal agreement by the proper University of Bristol governance channels, Bristol UCU negotiators and reps look forward to rolling out the Agreement (which builds on our extant Workload Agreement for staff on Grade J and above) and Principles University-wide in 2019/20.

To highlight several key points, the Agreement and Principles stress:

  • Workloads to be managed in an open, fair and equitable way at the divisional/school level. Staff are able to challenge unfair and/or unreasonable distribution of workload
  • School/departments shall establish a workable and transparent mechanism for distributing work fairly between staff members
  • Pathway 2 research staff working on externally funded research projects, providing satisfactory progress and agreement of grant holder in consultation with Head of School, will be allocated time in which they may pursue personal research
  • Pathway 3 teaching staff (as well as pathway 1 staff) ‘to achieve periods totalling ten weeks per year, not including annual leave, uninterrupted as far as is reasonably possible by scheduled activities, to be set aside for research and/or scholarship’