1) Return to Work
As we return to work following our 10-days of strike action, members may wish to note the following:
- We are under no duty to report Action Short of a Strike (ASOS). A duty to report arises only if partial performance (see below).
- Members are under no obligation to report on whether their striking colleagues have taken strike action
- Being asked to complete a ‘Mitigation Form’ may be a reasonable request on a line manager’s part, but in the context of working to contract, it may be seen as a non-essential task compared to priority core tasks.
Bristol UCU Exec welcome the recent University decision to change the staggering of pay deducted for strike action:
…University of Bristol and the Bristol branch of UCU have maintained dialogue in relation to withholding of pay for Strike Action.
The timing of the days of strike action meant that the withholding of pay for the action in February would have meant up to 8 days’ pay withheld in March and a further 2 days withheld in April.
The University has agreed with the Bristol branch Executive that a maximum of 5 days pay will be withheld in March for February Action, a further 5 days in April for February and March action and should UCU members choose to take strike action for the next planned period from the 28th March, this pay will be withheld in May.
This information should be on SharePoint shortly. Note: ‘UCU members are expected to comply with the deadlines set to enable this spreading of withheld pay using the email@example.com’.
SharePoint has also been updated [link] following similar dialogue as regards the definition of partial performance in the case of UCU’s ASOS ‘action’: ‘removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action’. Branch reps believe that this adds much needed clarity as regards partial performance.
See ‘Update/Guidance: ASOS & ‘Uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action’ [link] for further details.
Newsflash notes a number of colleagues are resigning as External Examiners at institutions in dispute with UCU.
2) Future Scheduled Strike Action and Local Actions
A further 5 days of Bristol UCU strike action over our twin USS and Four Fights disputes has been scheduled for the last week of March. ASOS continues and UCU will be looking to reballot all HE branches with a view to a marking boycott after Easter.
A UCU Special HE sector conference on USS has been called to shape the next steps of that dispute on 27 April 2022; on 20th April a UCU Special HE sector conference has been called concerning the Four Fights dispute. More on these conferences below.
- On Monday, the Branch Exec agreed a £1,000 contribution to the ‘Save university pensions, and save the planet’ legal challenge [link].
- Bristol UCU reps are currently looking to challenge what was ultimately a decision of our ‘sovereign body, the Board of Trustees to reject UCU’s ‘non cuts’ USS proposal
Many UCU members have been supporting the students engaged in occupation of the Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building in support of UCU’s demands. See our branch Executive Committee statement of solidarity [link] last week.
Bristol UCU reps have been involved in discussions with the occupiers, the Students’ Union and Senior Management. We welcome some positive developments, some of which are detailed above, since these discussions started.
3) Notification: Bristol UCU General Meeting, Wednesday, 16th March, 14:00-15:00, via Microsoft Teams
On Wednesday next week all Bristol UCU members are invited to an online branch General Meeting.
An agenda and link to join will be circulated early next week.
At the GM, the branch will decide on motions to bring to the Special Conferences mentioned above. Branch reps will also provide an update on the twin disputes and potential next steps.
Please see a motion already submitted for debate and to bring to both SHESCs ‘Motion – UCU HE Members To Decide Future HE Strike Action’ (click on link below):
Members are invited to submit motions to the General Meeting on the 16th. Please submit motions by Monday, 14th March so as to be circulated with the agenda. Any motion should have a proposer and seconder.
Please also note that motions for UCU Congress 2022 will also need to be submitted to this General Meeting before next Monday.