Bristol UCU​​​​ Newsflash, 16th June 2021

1) Why I joined the Union – Tracey Hooper Writes

Our immediate Past President Tracey Hooper is retiring after many years of service to UCU, to campus unions and to the University.

As part of her ‘retirement tour’, Tracey has written about why she joined ‘the Union’:

So, why should people be members of the Union?  
Because they can have people like me and my fellow branch officers, reps and caseworkers support them to ensure they are treated fairly.  We are an incredible branch and we are blessed to have so many members willing to offer their support and experience to help others. Trade Unionism for me is all about people being treated fairly in the workplace and frequently that just doesn’t happen. It’s often said that the union is the shadow HR and I think that’s true – we watch, we check and we challenge managers and HR.  
Our officers and caseworkers know UoB policies and procedures like the backs of our hands and we are quick to challenge where we see error or unfairness.

Tracey started at Bristol in 1984 as a secretary and became branch secretary of NALGO in the early 90’s. Her final role, before moving to UCU, was Head of Administration for Information Services. Tracey has played a key role in improving terms and conditions across this institution.

On the 2018 pension strikes:

The 2018 USS strike was a watershed moment for our Branch.  For a start, our membership increased hugely and continued to rise as the strike went on. I’ve been on picket lines for over 30 years, but I’d never known strike action like it – we were solid, we were strong – we built up camaraderie on the picket line with our colleagues because we had time to talk, we had more space: workloads had become so intolerable that there was rarely time for chat.  And through our solidarity (and that of our students) – we achieved so much and made our branch a force to be reckoned with – and we still are.

There is much that still needs to be done on workloads, on job security, on the fair payment of part-time staff, on defending our pensions. It is true to say, though, without Tracey’s sterling work – our University of Bristol shadow HR eminence grise – the University would be an unfairer, poorer workplace. Those university workers and union members – whose working life she has improved, in pocket, in workplace dignity and in job security – are her testament:

I leave this branch with a membership size which far surpasses my expectations when I started 11 years ago.  I also leave a hugely strong and experienced Branch Officer team, Executive, Reps and caseworkers.  We truly are an amazing branch and we have achieved so much and can achieve so much more.  Remember we are stronger together – We Are The University

Tracey will be much missed, but we wish her all the best in her retirement.

For the full blog post, click on the link below:

2) What kind of (Professional Services) term has it been?

Paul Ayres, Branch Vice President 2020-21, looks back at the events of Professional Services term, highlights the key issues that you have been raising, and looks ahead to what needs to happen next: