Bristol UCU Newsflash, 29th July 2020

1) Branch Working Group: ‘to develop a political strategy…to apply pressure on the university to accede to staff demands’

Thanks to everyone who attended our Extra-ordinary General Meeting last Wednesday. At that EGM, we voted for two motions, both of which were endorsed by the branch Executive Committee yesterday.

In approving the first motion, the branch is resolved ‘to convene a working group comprised of representatives from the various schools and professional service divisions to develop a political strategy designed to apply pressure on the university to accede to staff demands’ [link].

School and Professional Services Reps are now seeking volunteers for the Working Group. If you are interested in sitting on the Working Group, please email and your details will be passed onto Working Group organisers.

Exec also resolved to write to the Senior Management Team as per the ‘Bristol UCU calls on SMT to’ section of the motion.

2) #CoronaContract Motion and Casualised Staff Pledge

The EGM and Exec also endorsed the second ‘#CoronaContract’ motion. The branch is now resolved ‘to resist by whatever practical means the reallocation of work away from casualised colleagues to permanent staff’ [link].

Branch members are now requested:

  • ‘to resist…the reallocation of work away from casualised colleagues to permanent staff on grounds of health and safety, equality, impact, breach of collective bargaining/organisational change procedures, contractual terms and conditions, teaching quality and student complaints’
  • ‘to lodge, if and where necessary, collective and/or individual grievances if we are asked to take on the work of casualised colleagues who are being laid off’
  • ‘to listen to the experiences and demands of our casualised colleagues, amplifying their voices and speaking up for them wherever possible, and to express solidarity with any local action taken by casualised workers in our workplace’

This motion is supplemented by UCU’’s UK-wide ‘10 steps to take in solidarity with precarious higher education staff’ [link]. Actions that Bristol UCU members should take include:

  • changing your email signature to advertise these ten steps
  • getting together with colleagues in your workplace to discuss and quantify the impact of cuts to precariously employed staff on your workload
  • setting yourself a target of talking to one precariously employed colleague who isn’t currently a UCU member and convincing them to join
  • writing a collective letter expressing your concerns about the equality impact of cuts to precariously employed staff

For more details, please consult the text of the motion [link] and the 10 steps in full [link].

3) £10,000 Donation to Fighting Fund

The branch has donated £10,000 to UCU’s Fighting Fund. UCU branches and higher paid members are being asked to donate to the Fund to avoid members, particularly on the lowest subscription rates and in Further Education, paying the proposed £15 levy to address the current Fighting Fund shortfall. Latest reports indicate members earning under £20,000 will not have to pay the levy.

‘The more we raise,’ the General Secretary points out, ‘the more we will be able to reduce and/or completely avoid payments for lower subscription bands’.

NB from September the branch will cut local subscription rates for members earning between £5,000 and £19,999 pa, with members earning under £5,000 paying only £1 per month.

4) Last Chance To Vote – 4 Fights E-Consultation

If you haven’t done so, please vote in the 4 Fight Consultation asap. Voting closes at noon today!

5) Bristol Anti-Precarity Network Meeting Today @12pm, via Microsoft Teams

Join us today at noon today to discuss implementing the casualised staff pledge and other ways to secure the employment of fixed-term and hourly-paid staff.

Join via this link:

Newsflash takes a summer break over AugustYour Newsflash team will return in September.