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Gordon Bartlett – RIP

It is with deep sadness that we need to let you know that Gordon Bartlett passed away peacefully at home on the 2nd September surrounded by his family and is now at rest. Gordon was a highly principled person and an active participant in UCU. He was an elected union secretary for City College, Plymouth from UCU’s inception and before that an active participant in NATFHE. An effective case worker, conscientious and stalwart in defending individual member’s grievances and concerns he was a regular attendee at local meetings, a good listener as well as being excellent at debating. As secretary, he kept the minutes of meetings as well as representing the union when the Chair was unable to do so. He responded positively to every campaign and he would always join the picket line, if we were called out on strike. He was a great believer in trade unionism, in defending individual rights and freedoms, in fighting for a fairer and more equitable society as well as securing a decent standard of living for all, in a safer and more humane world.

We have lost a friend, a colleague, a member, an activist and a man of stature. It is rare that a person can combine their ideals with reality but we feel that Gordon did so by pioneering the Access to Higher Education qualification at CCP (formerly Plymouth College of Further Education). This enabled individuals and their families to become socially mobile, thereby improving their standard of living and increasing their life chances and being able to take advantage of the opportunities in the part of our society that has meritocratic principles. He will be missed. He will be remembered. He made his mark. He made a difference. Moreover he managed to embody and enact his principles while keeping his integrity. That is also rare, in this day and age, if not completely unique. We salute a life well lived. He will be missed enormously by colleagues and students alike.

Mark Sully of Cornwall College Elected to LGBT Standing Committee

Mark Sully










“My name is Mark Sully and I am the union’s health and safety coordinator for Cornwall College and have also recently joined the UCU LGBT Standing Committee.

The committee meets regularly throughout the year to discuss and address issues surrounding and concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) members. At this year’s Annual Congress I will be proposing a motion to help tackle homophobia and trans phobia within FE and HE institutions through a monitoring process and the further training of union reps in this area.

I would welcome any input from the LGBT members from the South West to take up at committee meetings and relevant fora. It is great that the South West now have a voice in this area and I look forward to representing your interests. I can be contacted by email :”

UCU’s National Executive Committee convenes four standing committees which represent members’ interests in the area of Equalities: The Disabled Members’ Standing Committee, The Black Members’ Standing Committee, The LGBT Members’ Standing Committee and The Women Members’ Standing Committee.  More information can be found here :

UCU Reps Training Day at Exeter Office

Eleven reps from across the UCU South West Region undergo an intensive, one-day training course at the Exeter UCU office. Here the course delegates role-play interviewing members in advance of representing them in meetings with an employer. All training for UCU reps is provided free and employers have a statutory duty to allow paid time off to attend.












In this picture left to right Christina Ryan, City of Bath College, Linda Hinds, Petroc College, George Seba, Somerset College and Tony Wilde of City of Bath College.












In this picture left to right Christina Ryan, City of Bath College, Linda Hinds, Petroc College,  Tony Wilde of City of Bath College and George Seba, Somerset College.











In this picture left to right Ulrike Zitzlsperger, University of Exeter, Emily Lygo University of Exeter and Kevin Thomas of City of Bristol College. 












In this picture left to right Maria Donkin,  Maggie Hemsworth and  Chelo de Andres Martinez of Plymouth University and Sue Lea, UCP Marjon. 

If you think you could be a UCU rep, get in touch with UCU South West Regional Office exeter(at) or contact your branch’s secretary or chair. If you wish to take one of the many courses offered by UCU start here: to find courses, dates and times. 

Being a UCU activist: A brief intro to being a rep

The purpose of any trade union is to advance the interests of its members. Unions do this by negotiating collective agreements and by lobbying to improve laws that affect the membership.

UCU’s education programme offers its growing network of activists a wide range of courses. Courses are delivered on a regional basis so are therefore an ideal opportunity for members to learn from and network with reps from different branches within their region.

Check your regional listing in UCU training for further information

Whether you are an existing UCU activist or you are considering taking on a more active role within your UCU branch we have a course for you.

Unions also represent their members by seeing that employers do not violate their collective agreements or laws (health and safety, human rights, etc) that affect the members.  Colleges and universities sometimes want to have a free hand to provide services as cheaply as possible. This means that union members must work together to force employers to pay staff properly, to provide safe working conditions, provide us with job security, etc. Even in the worst of times unionised staff do better than those with no protection.

Being a rep is useful and highly rewarding work. What is more, you need not do this on top of your existing work.  Accredited unions reps are entitled to statutory, paid remission; are supported in their work by full-time officers and are entitled to free training and paid time off to do it. If you could be a rep in the South West contact us at: or email me direct dotoole(at)

Your Rights are Further Eroded






There has never been a more important time to join a union. Members of unions work collectively to defend their members’ rights and employment conditions. One of the rights you will previously have had is the right “not be unfairly dismissed” but from April 2012 the period you must be employed to have the right not to be unfairly dismissed rises from one to two years. This new legislation affects anyone employed after 6 April 2012.

The new legislation is part of the government’s idea to rejuvenate the economy by making it easier to dismiss staff (and hence less risky, it argues, to employ someone in the first place).

The Labour Research Department’s (LRD) journal says:

“Even taken in its own terms, the government’s evidence for such ideas is embarrassingly weak.”

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) surveyed employers and only 1% agreed – when prompted – that “dismissal/disciplinary action is the regulation that most puts them off employing staff”.

Changes in Summary

  • The service requirement for claims for unfair dismissal has increased from one to two years for all new starters joining on or after 6 April 2012
  • The tribunal considering cases will no longer include two lay members with workplace experience as employer and workplace representatives. Unfair dismissal cases will usually be heard by a legally qualified judge, sitting alone.
  • The maximum deposit a claimant can be ordered to pay before being allowed to continue a claim has increased from £500 to £1,000.
  • The maximum costs award a tribunal can make has increased from £10,000 to £20,00 and witness expense are no longer publicly funded.

If you teach or are in an academic related role in Further or Higher Education you can join UCU here:

First Coaches for O20 from the South West Region

March for a Future That Works, London, October 20 2012



The first coaches are beginning to be booked in the South West Region. This page will be updated as more detail emerges.

Ful details of travel to this march nationally is posted and coordinated here:

To facilitate the exchange of information on coach and train bookings, car sharing, accomodation and organising meetings in the South West Region visit and “like” the page?

South West Region

Locking Road Car Park, Weston super Mare BS23 – A coach for members of North Somerset UNISON and their friends and families and others, depending on availability. See here for details:

Bretonside Bus Station, Bretonside, Plymouth PL4 0BG – Two coaches organised by The Plymouth Trades Council. See here for details:

UNITE members

Free Transport for members and their families.
For the South West: Contact Laurence Faircloth

Departures: Poole Railway station at 08:30 and Bournemouth Unite office, Holdenhurst Road at 09:00. Coaches coming from Plymouth (call 0845 605 2192 or 01752 424 129) and Gloucester (call 0845 604 8325 or 01452 223 440).

For national Unite details see here: and here (please check here for updates)


UNISON members and their families can book coach seats for FREE by going to the Unison website I see from this link that seats are free to Unison members but MAY be opened up to others.

 “We may open up the coaches to members of other unions and community groups at the seat cost near to the time if we are able to do so. If you have particular requests please email our dedicated mailbox”

 “Our Cornwall coaches are being organised separately through the Local Government, and Community and Acute health branches. Because it is such a long way members will be able to travel up on the Saturday and stay overnight before the march, and then travel back late Sunday, rather than have to leave very early and get home very late. To book your spaces please contact, as appropriate:

Cornwall Local Government – Katherine Smith and Gill Allen on 01872 270499
Cornwall Acute Health – Carla Whiting on 01872 253165
Cornwall Community Health – Rachael Hale on 01208 256264″

Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance

Well done to Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance for organising two coaches going from Exeter on a first come first served basis. £20 waged and £10 for unwaged, students and pensioners. Contact Jim Thomson, Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance  at / 07745803599.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council.

have booked a coach to attend this rally to show their support for this TUC event and fellow Union members. They will charge a minimal fee of £2.00 per person for the trip to London. Leaving 0630hrs from Bridgwater bus station. Returning from Victoria embankment 1700hrs. To book your seat contact Glen Burrows Oh seven seven 22087675 or email Places are limited so book now. Link to BTUC poster

Bath University

UCU and other unions in Bath are sending coaches to the TUC rally A Future that Works in London on October 20th.   Coaches leave the campus at 8.45 and Laura Place at 9 am returning from London at approximately 5 pm.  Tickets £5 – to book email

Claire Nicholls – NUT

is organising NUT coaches from Bristol: 7.15 from centre, 7.30 from Eastville, 5pm return. £5 per ticket, free for children, NQTs & retired members.

Contact Claire for more details or to book: nutbristolyoungteachers[at]

Protest against the EDL Bristol 14 July


 The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom. At many of their demonstrations, EDL members have clashed with counter-demonstrators, including supporters of Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Members of the EDL have been implicated in acts of violence during rallies held by trade unions, socialist groups and anti-racist organisations.

The aims of the EDL run directly counter to the principles of trade unionism and all trade unionists should oppose them.  Mike Gurney of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) writes urging support in opposing the intentions of the EDL to march in Bristol. Contact Mike or get in touch with your UCU branch secretary to attend this march.

 “Dear All

The English Defence League are once again trying to rear their racist heads in the South West. They are holding a march in Bristol on Saturday 14th July.

We Are Bristol and Bristol Unite Against Fascism have called for a march and rally in the city on Saturday 14 July to oppose the planned demonstration by the EDL.

The racist thugs of the EDL have announced plans to come to town that Saturday — despite the city hosting Bristol Pride event organised by the LGBT community for the people of the South West.

We Are Bristol have called a march and rally, “Celebrating diversity — Resisting racism and fascism”, to show the EDL that they are not welcome. The details for the counter demonstration are: Saturday 14 July. Assemble at 11am, Fountains, Bristol City Centre.

The EDL in the South West and beyond are mobilizing for this – however recently their numbers at protests have been low and they have been outnumbered by anti-racists. Hopefully in Bristol they will be outnumbered and demoralized.

Are you interested in travelling up to Bristol for the counter demo? If you are then please email back so that we can arrange to travel up in a group.

Mike Gurney

Exeter UAF (”

Coffee to Go





Following the opening of the new Forum at The University of Exeter the Exeter management have announce the closure of three staff cafes in Amory, Harrison and Queens’ Buildings. The staff working there are at risk of redundancy as all three are to be closed by the end of this term. Staff whose jobs were affected were only told last week. No union consultation proceeded the decision.

Brett Crane, Unite Branch Secretary says:

“Unite the Union are dismayed at the lack of consultation on these cafe closures. The University continually claims to be interested in staff welfare and the Student Experience. If this was truly so, then surely it would inform and consult staff/cafe users and their representatives at the earliest possible opportunity. To give staff representatives less than 24 hours notice that a decision had already been made, is not acceptable in an institution with Russell Group status.”

UCU, Unison and Unite have all registered their opposition to the closure and the “high-handed” manner of Exeter management in proceeding without any reference to staff, students or their representative bodies.

If you would like to send a message to University of Exeter management sign the petition at:

A5 flyers can be downloaded from here:

or by emailing David O’Toole at for ready printed versions.

or by contacting the South West regional office


UCU Reps Training in Taunton

Training Session at Rep 1

Seven reps from the South West Region took part in the most recent Rep 1 training course. The course, held in the relaxing atmosphere of Lyngford House, Taunton is aimed at new reps, caseworkers and activists who will be undertaking their role in the near future.

The Rep 1 introductory module introduces new reps to the purpose of UCU, its structure, functions and democratic processes and how you can get involved; your role and rights as a UCU rep; the importance of organising and campaigning and the support available to you as a UCU rep.

Training as a UCU union rep is free and you are entitled to paid time off from your employer, training provider, college or university.

If you want to become more involved in the work of UCU starting in your branch  contact your branch secretary. If you are nor sure who this is contact the Regional Office. Email or phone 01392 412 525.


UWE Ballot for Industrial Action

UCU announced this week that the branch at The University of West England will be balloting its members for industrial action over the use of a non-agreed workload model. The newly implemented Workload Model has caused great concern among the staff since it was brought in across the whole University in 2011/12 . Staff allege that a poorly conceived model is also being unfairly implemented with some staff being allocated as much as twice the work of the previous years and others less than previously. 

Comments from the staff in a survey organised by UWE committee members include:

 “So far I am on 880 “bundles” and still adding to it.  The allocation for some of my work is totally unrealistic. […] I keep hoping something is going to be done about it but when and by whom I have absolutely no idea any more.  I’m completely exhausted, fed-up and there’s no end in sight.”

 “The workload model cannot take account of research and scholarship requirements of our role as academics. I am over 20 contact hours per week, with some weeks reaching 26. This is an increase of 100% from three years ago.”

 UCU Regional Official for the South West Nova Gresham said:

 “Industrial action is always a last resort but negotiations have been ongoing for two years, without the kind of progress that would satisfy members and guarantee a realistic and achievable workload.  This kind of mechanistic and inflexible approach is not the way forward.  I hope that the stance taken by members at UWE will encourage other branches to challenge unfair workload models.  The rush to productivity cannot be done at the expense of our members’ health and welfare”.

 The ballot will open on 18 May and close on 6 June.

See UCU National Website News