Bristol UCU Newsflash, 8th July 2020

1) Emergency Online Branch Meeting Last Week & University Pay and Reward Proposals 20/21

Thanks to members who attended our Online Branch Meeting Wednesday last week, called to discuss the University’s proposals to reduce the pay and reward bill for 2020-21 as contingency against revenue estimated to be lost next year.

James Thompson, Branch President and a member of the three-person Joint Union (UCU, Unite and Unison) Pay Negotiators, opened the meeting. The motion for discussion noted the course of negotiations up to now, negotiations which saw several mooted pay and reward cutting measures not put forward. It is important to recognise that the proposals at Bristol are less extreme than at many other universities.

Our Branch Executive does not endorse or recommend the University’s proposals and will not be signing a Joint Statement with the University.

It was also noted that the University’s deleterious proposals–freezing promotion for the 19/20 cycle, cancelling merit payments and professional/Grade M pay increases–do not rule out the ongoing dismissal of fixed-term members of staff, increasing already unmanageable workloads for staff, or a potential extension of the teaching week. Nor does it mean that potential jobs losses in Clinical Research and Imaging Centre (CRIC) or Strategic Programmes and Projects (SPP), or the active promotion of Voluntary Severance alongside new non-union negotiated performance management schemes, are halted.

At the end of the meeting, the motion for discussion was not formally put. The meeting effectively ‘noted’ the endpoint of those negotiations.

2) UCU Branch Officers 2020-21

Two changes in the Branch Officer team to highlight: Suzy Cheeke has stepped down as Vice President as she returns full-time to her Library Services role, and Celine Petitjean is our new Membership/Recruitment Secretary for 2020/21.

Thanks to Suzy for many years of hard work for the branch, and thanks, too, to Mercedes Villalba, Celine’s predecessor as Membership/Recruitment Secretary.

‘Welcome’, too, to Paul Ayres, Branch Treasurer. Paul will be ‘replacing’ Suzy in that Paul will be taking on some of her former responsibilities, as well as her facility time for 2020/21. As members are aware, branch elections for officers and our Executive Committee are postponed until ‘normal’ business can resume. Office holders, unless they stand down, stay in post until an Annual General Meeting can be held.

All the campus unions receive facility time funded via HR for trade union representatives to carry out their duties. The current team (with their facility time from 1st August) is:

  • President: James Thompson, Historical Studies (0.3 FTE)
  • Vice President: Tracey Hooper, HR/UCU Office (0.1 FTE)
  • Branch Secretary & Anti-Casualisation Officer: Jamie Melrose, SPAIS (0.5 FTE)
  • Treasurer: Paul Ayres, IT Services (0.3 FTE)
  • Membership/Recruitment Secretary: Celine Petitjean, Biological Sciences (0.14 FTE)
  • Casework Coordinator: Stephen D’Evelyn, HR/UCU Office (0.46 FTE)

Laura Forman (Branch Administrator), is employed by the branch (through local subscriptions) part-time (0.4 FTE).