Bristol UCU Newsflash, 9th September 2020

1) New Subs 2020/21

The new UCU subs for 2020-21 are on the Bristol UCU branch website:

Members earning under £22,000 pay no local branch subscription. Postgraduates who teach are eligible for free standard membership.

2) Give Research Staff Honorary Status at End of Contract

Please sign this open letter calling on the University to grant research staff honorary status as default at the end of their contract:

This is a modest proposal to support highly valued staff.

3) H&S Questions and In-Person/f2f Teaching

UCU branch reps recently submitted a list of questions to University Senior Managers. For example:

  • Is there a library of risk assessments?
  • Will anonymized COVID data be shared with campus unions on cases?
  • Is it a right for a member of staff to say they do not want to teach in person?
  • Could the default not be face coverings to be worn inside?

Branch reps and negotiators are currently negotiating a robust Health & Safety-driven approach to the ‘Return’ phase of the University’s ‘reopening’ of campus for the new academic year.

UCU’s current negotiating priority is the ‘default position that all HE teaching provision should be through online/remote means except where this is practically impossible (e.g. for laboratory-based teaching and courses with practical elements such as performing arts, sciences, and some arts courses)’.

4) Pay Negotiations

With better than predicted 2020/21 University of Bristol student numbers, the President and Chairs of UCU, Unite and Unison respectively have written to the University asking to reopen local pay and promotion negotiations.

5) Internal Advertising – Pathway 3 Roles

As confirmed with UCU and agreed by Faculty Deans, all Pathway 3 roles should be advertised internally first, unless a strong case for an exception is made formally.

6) Higher Education Sector Conference, 30th September

A UCU HESC has been called for Wednesday, 30th September ‘to debate and direct the union’s response to the attack on jobs, pay and conditions resulting from the response of employers to the Covid-19 pandemic, including a draft sector-wide claim’ [link].

If you are interested in standing as a branch delegate for Bristol UCU, one of 5 branch delegates, please email the Branch Secretary ( asap. Registration closes on Friday, 18th September: delegates will need to be confirmed by our Executive Committee in advance of 18th.

7) Levy – Second Instalment Cancelled

Thanks to individual and branch donations – Bristol UCU donated £10,000 – to the UCU Fighting Fund, the second £5 instalment of the UCU Levy has been cancelled.

The recent August £10 instalment for members earning over £20,000 per annum is the first and last instalment.

8) Local Hardship Fund Closure

Please note: our Bristol Local Hardship Fund [link] is set to close to claims arising from the current dispute. Eligible members who took strike action have until the end of September to submit a claim.