Wills Memorial Building occupiers secure two of their demands


By Roya Shahidi, Co-Deputy News Editor

Two of the occupiers' demands have been implemented, despite university management’s statement that previously agreed-upon concessions would not be upheld due to allegations of ‘arguably violent behaviour.’

It has been over a week since a group of 12 students barricaded themselves in the Great Hall in Wills Memorial Building in support of the UCU strikes.

A statement regarding the recent developments from the occupiers concluded that on 7 March management had ‘abandoned all negotiations.’

However, another statement released today by Rent Strike Bristol has announced that two demands have been fulfilled.

In their statement, they said: ‘Despite the management’s insistence that they have rejected the negotiations, they have in fact fulfilled two of the occupiers’ demands:

  1. The clarification of the terms under which Action Short of Strike (ASOS) is triggered – effectively gutting the threats of pay cuts.
  2. A cap of 5 days per month pay losses applied to strike action.’

They also added: ‘The previous demand of no repercussions for the occupiers has been jeopardised by management’s threatening email, and it is not clear where they currently stand on this. Occupiers will remain in the building until this demand is met.

‘Management claims the occupiers do not respect staff; occupiers claim management work directly against the interests of the workers of this university. The struggle continues!’

In regard to university management's meeting of certain UCU demands, a University of Bristol spokesperson said:

‘Throughout the current period of Industrial Action called by UCU, the University of Bristol and the Bristol branch of UCU have maintained dialogue in relation to withholding of pay for Strike Action. The University has agreed with the Bristol branch executive that - as in previous periods of action - pay will be withheld over multiple months.

‘In terms of withholding pay from staff who decide to undertake partial performance of duty, we have reiterated to the occupiers that pay will only be deducted when such action has had a direct impact on the student experience.

‘Ultimately, we need to do everything we can to protect the educational experience of our students, who have faced a great deal of disruption in recent years due to the pandemic.’

Featured Image: Epigram / Megan Ip

What are your thoughts on the occupation of the Great Hall in Wills Memorial Building?