Bristol UCU Newsflash, 3rd March 2021

1) Emergency Online General Meeting, Monday, 1st March 2021

Thanks to Bristol UCU members who attended Monday’s Teams meeting.

A brief workload update started the meeting. Members are now hopefully aware of the University’s workload reduction announcement:

no new TESTAs this academic year, unless requested by the School or Department; no further NSS Task Forces this academic year (this affects History, English, History of Art, Psychology, Economics and Politics); unit level evaluation should be light touch; and periodic programme reviews will only take place for the remainder of this academic year on a risk-based basis to meet regulatory requirements

Members also discussed:

  • whether to seek concrete guarantees before any potential return to blended learning after Easter;
  • whether to update the terms of the ‘at least’ TB1 dispute [link];
  • whether to consider other courses of action post the Failure to Agree

Bristol UCU members will now be consulted via a branch e-consultation to determine the branch position.

2) Long COVID

The branch is looking to hear from members who are experiencing long COVID and its debilitating symptoms [link].

Branch reps have been advocating for a University-wide approach to staff members suffering the continuing effects of COVID, for example, as it relates to working arrangements, workplace adjustments and ill-health-related leave.

If you would like to share your experience, please email

3) Anti-Casualisation and Bristol Anti-Precarity Network (BAPN)

Casualised (and non-casualised) Bristol UCU members are invited – and this is a standing invitation – to join our Bristol Anti-Precarity Network and Bristol UCU’s campaign to hold the University to its stated anti-casualisation intent:

The University of Bristol and Bristol UCU are united in their commitment to reducing casualisation…Security of work and excellent staff experience are aims to which both the University and UCU are committed

We would also like to hear from members regarding any ‘dodgy job’ ads. UCU reps recently highlighted a job ad, for example, where the rate of pay fell way below the going rate, and saw a pay uplift as a result.

Pressing anti-casualisation issues include:

  • A review of the Temporary Staff Service (TSS)
  • The implementation of a Graduate Teaching Scheme for postgraduates who teach
  • the granting of Honorary Status to PW2 researchers after the end of their project and contract as institutional default
  • Securing and extending employment for PW3 teaching staff after this academic year. Last year, the need and demand for teaching staff held up, yet PW3 staff had a miserable summer of unnecessary uncertainly, time that they could have spent planning ‘the 2020/21 student experience’. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2021