Bristol UCU Newsflash, 27th January 2021

1) Dispute Latest

At our final Dispute Resolution meeting on Monday, Branch Negotiators, while welcoming a host of positive changes banked so far, for example, in the Risk Assessment process and regarding online programme requests, asked the University to commit to online teaching until at least the Easter vacation.

This would see the University join other universities in offering this assurance.

Branch Negotiators received no such assurance, though some other positive proposals were tabled by University Officers.

Our Executive Committee met yesterday. It saw no grounds to end the dispute. Our Branch President has relayed this point to University Officers, as well as exploring once again whether the University will change its current ‘no guarantee’ policy.

If we do not see any substantive movement, Bristol members should expect a branch meeting and further formal consultation over our next steps.

2) UCU Industrial Action Consultation

You should have in your inbox a survey about UCU’s sectorial approach to industrial action in a time of COVID, pay freezes [link] and job cuts [link].

That survey launched on Monday and closes on Wednesday 17 February. Emails will have a unique link to complete the survey.

The survey asks what will make them likely to participate in industrial action in the future. It covers options for action short of a strike (ASOS) as well as strike action, and it covers demands which the union can include in future negotiations with employers.

Please complete. It should take around 10 minutes.

3) What To Drop? – The UoB Workload Crisis

Members are still encouraged to submit concrete workload proposals on what can be stopped, postponed or parked.

Please speak to your rep, contact a UCU branch officer or email with your proposal

Suggestions so far include:

  • Calling on the University to lead a sectorial effort to park or scrap the REF
  • No NSS Task Forces/Groups
  • No new Education Action Plans
  • No new Proposals for UG or PGT programmes unless urgent
  • Parking TESTA [link]
  • A moratorium on PS restructurings

4) Welcome News. Subject-Level TEF Scrapped

Good news late last week for UCU members.

The government has spoken: ‘we do not want the OfS to proceed with any form of subject-level assessments as part of TEF at this time’.

The main reason? The ‘bureaucratic burden’.

To quote Universities UK, a rarity in Newsflash, ‘subject-level TEF would not have been in the interest of students and would have created further administrative burdens at an already challenging time’.