Bristol UCU Newsflash, 18th November 2020

1) Bristol UCU Annual General Meeting, *Today*, 13;00-14:00, via Microsoft Teams

To join at 13:00 today, please click on the link below:

On the agenda, election of Branch Officers and of the Branch Executive Committee for 2020-21.

James Thompson, Branch President, will give an oral report, including an update on our current dispute.

For a copy of the agenda (with a list of Branch Officer and Exec Committee candidates), please click on the link below:

2) ‘Pay Freeze’ – Academic Promotion Changes and Extra Closure Days

Following a review of the University’s financial position, the University will now be going ahead with pay changes as well as new titles for those academic promotions due to take effect in January 2021.

The University will now also have three extra closure days and will now close from 21st December 2020 to 4th January 2021 inclusive.

3) Requests to Work or Teach Remotely/Online

The main means of shifting teaching online, or working remotely when working on campus is required, is the individual risk assessment, updated in October to take into account ‘if the individual is experiencing stress, anxiety or other mental health related concerns…Examples might include concerns relating to returning to campus, vulnerable members of within the household or commuting to work’.

Alternatively, colleagues may have secured home working/online teaching by simply asking their line manager.

Branch reps are extremely concerned about the uneven – often line manager and/or HR input dependent – nature of the individual risk assessment process.

We are looking for members to share their experiences, both where they have been successful and unsuccessful in their requests to work remotely/teach online, using the risk assessment process.

Please email with your experience.

4) Interest Free Loan – NHS Immigration Health Surcharge

Members facing the imposition of the NHS Immigration Health Surcharge should note the University’s existing interest free loan scheme.

The scheme does allow for individuals claim up to £5k for the Surcharge and other migration associated costs.

For more information:

5) Solidarity with UEL and Brighton

In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, UEL has placed hundreds of staff at risk of compulsory redundancy, with another 84 staff leaving with voluntary severance.

UCU’s branch chair and vice chair are among those targeted for redundancy.

The remaining staff have now been left with unsustainable workloads and the university continues to undermine and disrespect staff by attempting to impose new workload models and calculations without negotiation.

  • All UCU members are urged to show their support and solidarity
  • Send #saveUEL tweets in support to the branch @EastLondonUCU
  • Follow @saveUEL for unofficial news and updates

Members at the University of Brighton have just voted overwhelmingly in support of strike action and action short of a strike (ASOS) to fight the threat of compulsory redundancies for IT support staff.

The university plans to delete 49 posts – a restructure that makes no sense when students and staff alike are more dependent on IT support than ever.

Please send solidarity messages to @BrightonUCU to keep up the pressure.