UCU@BSU Newsletter - January 2021

Covid-19 - Staff

As outlined by the VC in her recent email, according to the Government guidance university staff are classed as critical workers and some staff have been classed as front-line workers who may be required to work on campus. Your Line Manager or Head of Department will be able to confirm with you individually whether you are required to work on campus or can do your work from home.The departments who are regarded as having some front line staff are:


  • Estates

  • IT

  • Student Wellbeing Services

  • Library and Learning Services

  • Administrative and Technical Services


Staff deemed to be critical workers may be able to access school education for their children during this lockdown, however, this is also dependent on the number of places the school can make available

UCU's guidance, which can be found here, outlines what being a critical worker does and does not mean, with particular reference to staff with school aged children. The guidance also covers what steps individuals and branches should take for critical workers who do not wish to send their children to school, and what those who are not classed as critical workers should be offered with regards appropriate working arrangements to allow them to undertake home-schooling. The guidance also covers what you should do if you have any concerns about working onsite/on campus. We will be seeking agreements with employers to facilitate such arrangements, and we would encourage you to contact us if any of this applies to you.

UCU has centrally produced a series of template letters for use by members who reasonably believe that a request or demand that they return to on site working would place them in serious danger from Covid-19, in order to raise their concerns directly with their manager. The letters are drafted for use by members in different circumstances. The template letters can be found here (you will need your UCU member log in details to access them).


UCU Campaigns:

Branch members should prepare for a survey on industrial action (opening 25th January) following a vote at September's HE sector conference. At it's close on 17th February, the survey will be followed by an online ballot of members on current negotiations with employers. For more information, please follow this link.


Joanna Nadin and Matt Wilkins, the BSU@UCU reps for anti-casualisation, meet with HR on a regular monthly basis. If you would like them to raise any specific issues related to anti-casualisation, please complete this form


A set of agreed workload tariffs are currently being distributed to schools within BSU, but it is BSU@UCU’s understanding that these are still effectively in “draft form” and need to be piloted. You should be consulted by the managers within your schools for feedback; if this isn’t happening, please contact us here. Cliff Williamson, Claire Edwards-Evans and Claire Levy, our workload reps, are working hard to ensure that the revision of the tariffs are fair, and are pushing for staff to receive training in understanding and calculating their individual tariffs to ensure they are empowered in negotiating fair workloads.


BSU@UCU is also concerned about the need to safeguard the 180 hours awarded to all academic staff for scholarly activity, and have received assurance from the Research Office that these hours are clearly allocated for research and scholarly activity, and should not be broken into component parts.


Health and Safety

Remember that our Health and Safety reps (Sam Walton and Bethan Mitchell) now represent all members of staff across the university. They have been brilliant at making sure that your issues and concerns over the Pandemic have been heard. Please complete this form  if you wish them to raise any particular Health and Safety matters.



The results of the recent University survey demonstrated increased levels of stress amongst staff.  A UCU@BSU workload and stress survey will be hitting your inboxes soon. Please look out for and complete it. The more members we have participating in and completing any surveys or questionnaires, the more power we have as a branch in negotiating better working conditions for staff within the University!


Social Rep and Caseworkers needed:

Call for a Social Rep and urgent call for more caseworkers. Training, support and facilities hours are given for these roles. Please get in contact here if interested.

Past BSU@UCU Newsletters

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