Members at today’s Branch Members Meeting (Wednesday 10 May)  voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion of no confidence in the leadership of the University and ultimately in the Vice-Chancellor, Steve West.


Motion of no confidence

Proposer: Tom Finn, Branch Chair
Seconder: Steve Register, Branch Health & Safety Officer

This Branch notes:

  1. UWE financially outperformed all the universities it benchmarks itself against in the last financial year with a 2.4% (£9.9million) surplus (Appendix 1) and has achieved surpluses consistently over the past 13 years. Last year’s revenue grew by over £43million.
  2. In the last financial year there was a 25% increase in staff at UWE earning over £100,000[i].
  3. UWE staff have faced real terms pay cuts for the past 14 years significantly impacting our living standards and UWE’s ability to recruit and retain skilled and experienced staff.
  4. The current cost-of-living crisis is having a detrimental impact on staff and the branch has had to issue foodbank vouchers to staff who are unable to afford basic necessities.

This Branch believes:

  1. UWE staff are undervalued and underpaid.
  2. We have tried to work with the University to find a local resolution to the 2022/23 pay dispute.
  3. We were told by the Vice Chancellor that the University cannot afford to make a one off, non-consolidated payment to all staff (as recommended by UCEA in 2022/23).
  4. We were also told that the University is only willing to ‘explore negotiations’ on a 35-hour working week for professional and technical services, rather than agreeing that we deserve to have it.
  5. The University is willing to invest circa £600million in its campuses, up to 2030, but not in its staff.
  6. This lack of action by the University’s leadership to demonstrate a commitment to supporting staff poses the most substantial risk to its ability to meet the needs of its students and delivery of its 2030 strategy.

This Branch concludes it has no confidence in the University’s leadership and ultimately, the Vice Chancellor. We therefore resolve to:

  1. Write to the Chair of the Board of Governors asking for a meeting to express staff’s lack of confidence in the University’s Vice Chancellor.
  2. Demand for Professional and Technical staff to be granted a 35-hour working week.
  3. Demand for Professional and Technical staff leave to be made equivalent to academic colleagues (as agreed as part of the PEP agreement).
  4. Publish this motion on our branch website.
  5. Work with our sister unions, UCU and Unite to raise the profile of our concerns.

[i] UWE Bristol Annual Report 2021/22, Pg51, available at
Photo: BBC News

Christian Scott
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