UCU announces 14 more days of strike action at Bristol Uni

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By Tom Taylor, Digital Editor

Following disruption at Bristol Uni last November, the University and College Union (UCU) has announced that there will be a further 14 days of strikes between Thursday 20 February and Friday 13th March.

The UCU, which represents staff at universities across the UK, announced today that the University of Bristol will be hit with 14 days of strike action in February and March 2020.

Bristol University staff will join 73 institutions in protest. The staff are taking action against 'universities' failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads', as well as disputes surrounding the 'sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme'.

These are the same issues under dispute during the strikes last November and early December.

The dates affected by planned strike action are:

  • Thursday 20th February and Friday 21st February
  • Monday 24th, Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th of February
  • Monday 2nd, Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th March
  • Monday 9th, Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12th and Friday 13th March

UCU general secretary Jo Grady has said: 'We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

Grady continues: 'We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.'

In a join statement, Professor Tansy Jessop, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience said: 'These are important issues and we respect the right of our staff to take action.'

They continue: 'As positive progress is being made and talks are ongoing at a national level, we are therefore disappointed at the prospect of students' education being further disrupted by industrial action.'

'We hope that even though the dispute may cause students uncertainty and anxiety, that wider strategies in place for wellbeing and education will enable students to keep communicating with their Schools and keep their studies on track.

As a University, we are proud of the way that we have worked with the local branch of UCU and the other trade unions to make things better for staff. We are open to continuing the conversation and being pro-active in addressing their concerns.'

Postgraduate Education Officer, Chris Brasnett, has said: 'We continue to support the current period of strikes on pay and pensions as we previously announced in November.  We believe that a fair deal on pay and pensions for staff at Bristol are in the long term interests of students.

We will continue to work closely with the university to ensure that no student is unfairly disadvantaged during this period of industrial action, as well as supporting UCU in their fight for a better future for their working conditions. As in November, we will keep students up to date on our dedicated webpage.'

Featured: Epigram / Cameron Scheijde


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AUTHOR

Tom Taylor

ex-Digital Editor | Twitter: @tomtay10r | Portfolio: https://tomtaylor.journoportfolio.com/