University of Bristol and University College Union reach deal to tackle gender pay gap

University of Bristol reach landmark deal
Image credit: University of Bristol

Plans have been set out to tackle the gender pay gap in an agreement between the University and College Union (UCU) and the University of Bristol.

The deal, agreed today (28 January 2020), is the result of 18 months of negotiations following UCU submitting a claim to tackle the gender pay gap in March 2018. The University of Bristol has agreed to a number of measures to tackle the gap: increased opportunities for progression for women; greater opportunities to work flexibly or job share; funding for pilot schemes to allow research staff to continue working at the university between grants; training for all staff involved in recruitment and promotion processes.

The University of Bristol aims to close its existing median pay gap of 13.6%, which is already below the national average in UK higher education institutions of 15.1%.

Suzy Cheeke (pictured, right), vice president at Bristol UCU, said: “This landmark agreement shows what can be achieved when universities work with us to tackle a problem head on. We now have a series of measures in place to deliver real positive change for women at the University of Bristol.”

Jo Grady, general secretary at UCU, added: “Instead of seeking to mitigate the seriousness of issues such as pay equality, casualisation and workloads, institutions across the sector should be looking to follow Bristol’s example. Universities now need to put pressure on their representatives to provide firm proposals that address all the issues at the heart of the current disputes.”

Judith Squires (pictured, left), deputy vice chancellor and provost at the University of Bristol, said: “This agreement with UCU signifies our commitment to eliminating the gender pay gap. The University of Bristol and UCU have been working together on this issue since 2018 and have made real progress since then with new initiatives to support women’s career development and a new academic promotions framework.”