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Bristol UCU and Bristol University confirm no strike action in autumn

In a significant development, the University of Bristol and the Bristol branch of University and College Union (UCU) have reached an agreement to avert any strikes during the upcoming autumn term.

Image courtesy of Milan Perera

By Roya Shahidi, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Milan Perera, Deputy Editor

The University of Bristol and the local branch of the University and College Union (Bristol UCU) have reached an agreement confirming no further locally-called industrial action, 'so that discussions can continue openly and constructively.'

In a joint statement issued today (September 21) about the ongoing negotiations, both parties reiterated their commitment to finding common ground in national negotiations between the Universities and Colleges Employer Association (UCEA) and UCU.

The joint statement indicated that: 'The University of Bristol and local branch of the University and College Union (Bristol UCU) have been meeting to discuss the national dispute and opportunities to improve relations at a local level to benefit the whole university community.'

Both parties acknowledged that the ongoing nature of the national dispute is a cause of great concern to the University and all its staff and students.

The UCU and the University of Bristol welcomed the recent agreement by both sides to carry out a financial review of the sector, which will enable a joint dialogue with the government over the future of the sector.

Among the points agreed between UCU Bristol and the University of Bristol include:

  • No further locally-called industrial action so that discussions can continue openly and constructively.
  • The need to find a longer-term resolution and ask both UCEA and UCU to agree to the negotiation of multi-year pay deals that are acceptable to all parties concerned.
  • To provide a framework that avoids uncertainty and enables good relations between universities and their trade unions.
  • Sharing a strong commitment to the principles of national pay bargaining and the benefits of commonality.
  • To help support staff during the cost-of-living crisis and minimise the impact of further industrial action on students.

The joint statement indicated that: 'The real-terms decline in staff pay at Bristol and across the sector is a cause of real concern, particularly in the face of the current inflationary pressures. We also know that government funding for universities continues to decrease, and that there is an uneven distribution of that funding across the sector.'

The statement further acknowledged that: 'The University of Bristol is leading the sector in several key areas such as the greater use of open-ended contracts and its work to eliminate the gender pay gap.'

According to the statement, the University of Bristol will enter into negotiations, scheduled to conclude in December 2023, with its recognised trade unions on the structure of salaries and grading at Bristol within the specific limits set by the national framework.

Bristol UCU is set to fully support the negotiations and participate in them fully.

Do you think this is the beginning of a long-term resolution between the University and UCU Bristol?