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Letter re Senate paper on 2017/18 Timetable and Resulting Recommendations

20 February 2018

Dear Guy and Claire,

I am writing to you on behalf of Bristol UCU in your capacities as Chair of JCNC, and HR Director. I do so in response to the ‘Report on 2017/18 Timetable and Resulting Recommendations’ (SN/17-18/027).

In 2016/17, there were extensive discussions between UCU and the university prior to the Senate discussion of timetabling. In those negotiations – largely between myself and Jamie Melrose for UCU and Guy Gregory and Alison Wall from HR – it was explicitly agreed that there would be a review in JCNC (or a sub-group thereof) of the timetabling experience in 2017/18. There has been no such review, despite Bristol UCU’s repeated requests. More broadly, the length of the teaching day is clearly a question of terms and conditions for UCU members; it is explicitly set out in the JTU Workload Agreement that forms part of the contracts for staff on J and above. The length of the teaching day evidently falls within the scope of the recognition agreement between UCU and the University, and the agreement to set up a JCNC. Moreover, in the JCNC/JUC Protocol on Negotiation & Consultation, agreed at September’s JCNC, Timetabling and Staff Constraint Policy is a matter for trade union consultation.

It is, therefore, premature and inappropriate for a paper to go to the next meeting of Senate offering options for an extension to the length of the teaching week. We consequently demand that this proposal to Senate be withdrawn, and proper consultation and negotiation with UCU as the recognised trade union initiated.

If SN/17-18/027 is not withdrawn from the agenda for the meeting of 26 February Senate by midday on Wednesday 21 February, Bristol UCU will be in dispute with the University over this matter.

Yours sincerely,

James Thompson on behalf of Bristol UCU