Bristol UCU Newsflash, 7th October 2020

1) Immediate Transition – Online Teaching

University Senior Management are now in receipt of our branch demands. We await a formal response.

Branch negotiators are looking for University Management to respond with a set of concrete proposals that we can share with our Executive Committee and with branch members for consultation as soon as possible.
To recap, our 3 key demands [link] are:

  • ‘an immediate cessation of unnecessary face-to-face, in-person teaching…with an immediate transition to online learning in all possible areas, for at least Teaching Block 1 of 2020-21, guided by individual disciplinary needs and practical teaching delivery considerations’
  • ‘…the University changes its current institutional policy and allows staff to teach online, where they do not feel safe teaching in-person, to do so’
  • ‘…the University immediately publishes risk assessments…and its methodology and principles used when making these risk assessments, as well as COVID-19 institutional data such as infection rates and the locality of cases, on SharePoint or an appropriate information portal.

See the examples of Sheffield [link] and Bath [link] for such an information portal.

2) Special Higher Education Sector Conference Last Week

Our five Bristol UCU branch delegates attended a Special Higher Education Sector Conference [link] last Wednesday, called by UCU ‘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’

For a delegate report, see:

3) Childcare Vouchers

Branch reps are aware that staff have been told that Payroll will not authorize the refunding of childcare vouchers not used due to Covid-19 lockdown and changes to work patterns.

Salary is thus being withheld.

The vouchers were purchased through the university’s Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

If you are an affected member of staff, contact

4) Becoming a UCU Caseworker

Current areas of work for branch reps include:

  • Professional Services restructurings, for example, Disability Services and Finance Services
  • New Faculty of Health Services Performance-Related Capability Criteria
  • Hourly-Paid Teacher Pay Rates and Hiring Policy
  • Securing Honorary Status for Recently Dismissed Pathway 2 Staff
  • Overseas Working
  • Around 50 individual and collective cases including redundancy, capability, progression and promotion and staff grievance

And this is a small sample.

If you are interested in sparing your valuable time, UCU is running ‘Representing individual members: an introduction to casework, 10, 17 December 2020 & 7, 14 January 2021, online – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m each day, South West Region:–7-14-January-2021-Online-South-West-Region

Please email, if you are interested in participating.

5) UCU Congress 2020

UCU Congress has been called for 28th-30th October [link].

If you are interested in standing as a branch delegate for Bristol UCU, as one of 5 branch delegates, please email the Branch Secretary (

Registration closes on Friday, 16th October: delegates will need to be confirmed by our Executive Committee in advance of that date.

6) Granting Honorary Status for PW2 Staff

Last chance to sign our petition: