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Joint statement on ways of working – University of Bristol and local branches of UCU, Unite and UNISON

university Wills memorial building with text '5 July 2024 update'

5 July 2024

The University of Bristol’s senior leadership and the University of Bristol Joint Trade Unions have agreed to deepen partnership working on staff reward, building on the changes to pay and grading that we have made during the 2023/24 University year.

The University recognises that national rises in the cost of living have put significant pressure on staff in recent years, particularly those on the lowest salaries. Addressing this is a key priority for us, our trade unions, and their membership. We share a joint commitment to national pay bargaining to address this challenge.  

We also separately acknowledge that efforts to make local improvements to the University's staff grading structure are in everyone's interest. While we will not always agree on the specific nature of these improvements, we share a common sense of purpose, and a desire to maintain partnership working in this critical area to the benefit of all staff. The recent pay and grading offer has been one of these times where there has been some disagreement, and we acknowledge that not all unions are satisfied with the outcome of the subsequent negotiations.  

In light of this, we have committed to regular annual meetings commencing in spring 2025 to discuss matters relating to the University’s pay structure and benefits. Our meetings will focus specifically on local arrangements for reward that are within the responsibility of the University. They will not intrude into those matters reserved to national pay bargaining. They will build on the dialogue that commenced with recent local negotiations and the University’s investment of £9 million over three years in pay structure improvements. Each meeting will provide the opportunity to review any existing plans for improvements, discuss the respective ambition of all parties for future improvements and share information relating to the University’s finances.  

 In addition, the University will offer regular annual meetings to the Executive Leadership of each of our individual trade union branches with the University’s Chief People Officer and Chief Finance Officer. In establishing this further channel for discussion, we aim to encourage better mutual understanding and awareness of our common challenges and ambitions in terms of staff reward as well as other issues.  

The University and its trade unions will jointly monitor the impact of these new measures. We will look to identify further ways to deepen our working relationship in the interests of staff as the higher education sector as a whole faces a challenging outlook in the years to come.  


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