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Bristol UCU Newsflash, 24th February 2021

1) Emergency Online General Meeting, Monday, 1st March 2021, 13:00-14:00, via Microsoft Teams

Bristol UCU members are invited to an Emergency Online General Meeting (EOGM) on Monday@1pm next week, called by Bristol UCU Executive Committee.

To join on Monday, please click on the link below:


The meeting will see an update from Branch President James Thompson on our dispute, the terms of which have changed since our motion last year demanding ‘an immediate cessation of unnecessary face-to-face, in-person teaching at the University of Bristol, with an immediate transition to online learning in all possible areas, for at least Teaching Block 1 of 2020-21′[link].

This follows the Government’s latest ‘roadmap’, the current view of Public Health Bristol and the University’s recent announcement: ‘online teaching for all students (apart from those programmes where some blended teaching is already taking place) until the Spring vacation (29 March) in line with Government restrictions and local PHE advice’.

It should be noted that some programmes for students studying practical or practice-based subjects may be returning to blended teaching from 8th March, and colleagues with summer teaching commitments may now be expectant of a heavy in-person, f2f teaching load. Clearly, too, there is no ruling out of a pivot to blended learning in April.

Bristol UCU members’ feedback is sought at the EOGM on Monday on our next steps following our Failure to Agree [link]:

  • whether to seek concrete guarantees before any return to in-person, f2f teaching post Easter;
  • whether to update the terms of the TB1 dispute;
  • whether to consider other courses of action post the Failure to Agree

The ‘guarantees’ mentioned above would include Bristol UCU involvement in any programme-level decision to return to in-person activity, and a reasonable notice period for staff before any pivot to blended learning.

Exec also proposed an all-members e-consultation on the above.

A meeting reminder, with link, will be emailed to members on Monday morning, 1st March.

2) Workload

The EOGM on Monday will also see an update on the workload reduction proposals trailed in last week’s Newsflash:

Members will no doubt have a view on whether these predominantly teaching and learning-related proposals go far enough. It is the case that Bristol UCU Officers and the Executive Committee welcome these workload reduction proposals as a step in the right direction, and testimony to Bristol UCU members’ clear, unambiguous steer to University management that urgent and material steps are needed to reduce workload now.

3) Internal Advertising

In September last year, it was ‘confirmed with UCU and agreed by Faculty Deans’ that ‘all Pathway 3 roles should be advertised internally first, unless a strong case for an exception is made formally’ [link]. This was in line with Bristol UCU’s and the University’s declared ‘jobs first’ public position.

It is Bristol UCU’s understanding that this is still the default, that all PW3 roles are advertised to University colleagues internally, including hourly-paid teachers, and that any PW3 role advertised externally has gone through these internal steps first.

If there is ‘a strong case’ to be made, it should be made in advance of any job ad posting, and should clearly demonstrate there are no suitable internal candidates capable of appointment.

It is also worth noting, for Pathway 2 members’ benefit, that University guidance has stipulated that project grant holders ‘are encouraged to look at capacity within the existing workforce and wherever reasonable to draw on the availability of our current pool of researchers, through the existing redeployment procedures’.

4) UCU Votes!

Voting in the UCU Consultative Ballot on UCEA final offer 2020/21 closed yesterday. Voting in UCU NEC (National Executive Committee) elections is live; ballot paper should be returned by Tuesday, 2nd March:


5) People’s Assembly on Education and Research for the Climate Emergency, This Friday, via Zoom

Bristol UCU members are invited to the University’s People’s Assembly on Education and Research for the Climate Emergency, this Friday 15.00-17.00.

To register:


The aim of the People’s Assembly is to allow all students and staff the opportunity to shape the University’s delivery of its ambitions in this area and encourage staff and students to get involved in that process.

The People’s Assembly is part of the wider Climate Emergency Day of Action, with loads of events going on throughout the day for staff and students about climate action and how to get involved.

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