Bristol UCU Newsflash, 11th December 2019 – Newsflash 2019 in review


The year started with the UK-wide re-ballotting of members over pay and equality: ‘Don’t Delay, Vote Today!’. We approved our branch priorities for 2019: negotiating our Gender Pay Gap and Anti-Casualisation Claims; implementing our Workload Principles, and negotiating the Promotion and Progression Review.

In March, Newsflash highlighted the current state of the USS dispute, our branch work tackling unmanageable workloads and feeding into the University Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.


May saw Bristol UCU host UCU General Secretary hustings, and elect its Branch Officer and Reps team for 2019/20. Bristol UCU also submitted its response to the University of Bristol REF2021 Code of Practice. In June Bristol UCU reps attended UCU Congress in Harrogate.

Before Newsflash’s summer break, it noted that ‘we are balloting members over pay and pensions from Monday, 9th September. School, Department and Professional Service reps met on Monday to discuss the dispute and to plan our Get The Vote Out campaign’.

In addition to positive branch work on closing the Gender Pay Gap and reducing casualisation, branch negotiators recommended the revised University of Bristol and Bristol UCU Workload Agreement.


In September, Newsflash announced ‘that the University has responded positively to those areas of our Gender Pay Gap Claim on which we were keen to see meaningful progress’.

By October the branch was immersed in its Get The Vote Campaign in the USS and 4 Actions strike ballot.


On 6th November, the results were in: Bristol UCU to strike on pensions, pay, gender pay gap, workloads and casualisation. On 25th November our 8-day action began. On 2nd December, HPTs from across the University met with the Vice Chancellor to share their working conditions and lodge their demands.

We are currently working to contract. Members are working no more than their contracted hours, not performing additional voluntary duties, not setting and marking work beyond that work which they are contractually obliged to, and attending no meetings where attendance is voluntary.

And to end the year…at yesterday’s Executive Committee, Bristol UCU Exec members fully endorsed the draft Gender Pay Claim Collective Agreement between the University of Bristol and Bristol UCU. This will be shared with members early in the New Year, for approval at our branch General Meeting 22nd January 2020. This promises to be the first such Agreement in UK Higher Education.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year