Bristol UCU Newsflash, 27th May: Fixed-Term Contracts Letter, SPP, CRIC & Performance Management, Online Branch Meeting Last Week, Working From Home, Four Fights & USS Disputes, Strike Deductions & Hardship Fund Claims

1) Bristol UCU Letter on Fixed-Term Contracts

Following a nearly unanimous vote at Wednesday’s online branch meeting last week to take steps to protect job security for fixed-term staff, we are asking all branch members to sign this online letter:

The letter calls on the University’s senior management team to extend the contracts of all those on fixed-term contracts until there is reasonable opportunity to find a replacement job. We are calling for a ‘jobs first’ response to the pandemic, that would reflect the commitments the university has made thus far in the Four Fights Dispute.

If you are happy to support, please add your name by midday Monday, 1st June.

2) Strategic Planning and Projects, CRIC & ‘Performance Management’

Colleagues in Strategic Planning and Projects (SPP) and the Clinical Research and Imaging Centre (CRIC) are currently facing redundancies. SPP is going through a significant restructuring; CRIC faces the threat of closure. In both cases, UCU reps are representing members and exploring alternatives to large scale redundancies.

UCU branch officers are also aware of some concerning performance management proposals in the Faculties of Science and Health Sciences (sometimes known as a Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme [MARS]). UCU would be concerned if there is any collective performance management of staff where there has not been any meaningful individual capability procedure, or if performance management was being used as an instrument for staff savings.

If members have had performance management type conversations, please do email

3) Online Branch Meeting Last Week

Thanks to all who were able to attend the online branch meeting on Wednesday last week.

A report from the meeting will be circulated next week.

4) Bristol UCU e-Survey – Working From Home

A majority of respondents have a home workplace only partially fit or worse for purpose. A majority of respondents are concerned about job security. A majority of respondents find their workload more unmanageable than before. These are just some of the findings of our e-Survey.

Thanks to everyone who completed it: we had over 400 respondents.

UCU reps have been discussing the findings with senior management. A positive announcement about working from home office equipment should be forthcoming.

5) Bristol E-Consultation: Four Fights and USS Disputes & Branch Delegates’ Meeting, 26th May

Our Higher Education Committee (HEC) meets today to determine the next steps in our twin disputes.

Delegates from branches, including Vice President Tracey Hooper for Bristol UCU, met yesterday to inform HEC members on the views of branches regarding upcoming dispute decisions. These include to accept or reject the respective deals, to ballot or not HE members, and who will decide UCU policy: HEC, a Higher Education Sector Conference or UCU members.

The outcome of our E-Consultation on the twin disputes has been shared with branch School, Departmental and Divisional UCU Reps.

6) Incorrect May Strike Day

It came to light on Friday that some members had suffered incorrect additional strike deductions in their May salary. The branch office made Finance Services aware the same day. We heard late yesterday that over 200 members have been affected and have been deducted an additional day’s pay.

All affected members will be written to individually and will receive a full refund in their June salary.  Anyone in hardship will be able to receive an advance payment from the University’s hardship fund.

Members who took industrial action may wish to check their March, April and May payslips to check they have had the correct deductions taken.  To remind you: the University said it would take a maximum of 5 days each month (up to 14 days) in March, April and May, if you reported in March.  If you reported all strike action in April the deductions would have been split between April and May.

A quick way to work out your day rate for strike deductions is to multiply your gross monthly salary by 12 and then divide by 365.

7) Hardship Fund Claims  

May pay slips are now available on MyERP with your final strike pay deductions. If you have not claimed from the local hardship fund [link] at all (i.e. in either pre- and post-Christmas strike action) then you can still claim for your first day of action.

The national hardship fund [link] is still accepting applications for 2nd or 3rd day of action onwards from both first and second wave of action.