Interested in getting involved?
The power and influence of the union comes from working collectively and the more people the branch represents and the more unified we are, the more authority and bargaining power we have. So please do think about how you can get involved to ‘Build the Union’. There are a variety of ways that members can get involved:
The following UCU pages give you access to information, guidance, tips from the national team and from other UCU activists, and a huge range of tools and resources to help you to effect change in your workplace.
If you wish to get more involved with the union, please contact us, we will be glad to talk with you.
Get involved without being a rep
- use your vote – make sure your membership details are up-to-date.
- attend local branch meetings – see calendar.
- recruit new members – we will provide you with the materials you need.
- help with campaigns – support petitions, distribute materials, post notices. You can download posters and other materials here.
- network with other activists, make your voice heard, join working groups (we are currently looking for members to join one on the staff survey), and contribute analysis & opinions to the EUCU website blog.
- volunteer to join our communications team and handle media accounts (Tweeter, Facebook, WhatsApp): remain anonymous, work flexibly, allow this to be as big or small a commitment as you can handle – please contact Claire Foullon (Communications Officer).
- if we are forced to take strike action, volunteer to help supervise and populate our picket lines, or join a dedicated “education team” to help run teach-inns – please use the contact form or to help run our Local Hardship Fund – please contact the Treasurer Andrew Gilbert.
Get involved in the Branch organisation
- become a caseworker – UCU will provide training for this vital work of providing support and representation for our members.
- act as a local rep for your department or service – act as a first contact for new members. Again UCU will provide training and you are entitled to attend training as a legal right.
- attend local committee meetings – normally attended by local officers and reps, you can join us as an observer, see calendar.
- become a committee member (branch officer or ordinary member) – these are elected annually at the AGM, but if the position is still VACANT the Committee will take a vote to co-opt you.
Your rights to time off for training
Become a Caseworker
Caseworkers provide individual support and advocacy with the everyday problems which arise in the workplace. These may range from advice on policy to representing UCU members in matters of disciplinary and grievance (where members have a legal right to representation). As a caseworker, you would:
• Listen to members’ concerns and identify what outcome they are seeking.
• Provide one to one support for individual members facing workplace issues.
• Accompany members to meetings with managers to try to resolve issues informally.
• Accompany members to formal hearings such as disciplinary, capability or grievance.
See more info here and on the training provided there (old post) and there (recent post).
If you would like to help out with drop-in sessions, please contact our Drop-in coordinator, Brian Rappert.
To help with individual casework, please contact our Casework coordinator Alex Prichard.
Become a Departmental/Service Rep
A Departmental/Service rep is someone who is willing to take on a range of smaller tasks that help raise the profile of the branch among your immediate colleagues and who ensures that members in your department/service feel that the union is present, relevant and listens to them. As a Departmental/Service Rep, you would:
• Distribute union literature on behalf of the branch or the national union to departmental Union colleagues.
• Act as a point of liaison between members in the department and the branch.
• Distribute union messages to non-members in support of recruitment and campaigns.
See available positions here.
Join the Committee
The main role of the Committee is to sustain the branch through:
• Talking and listening to members’ and non-members’ views to find out their problems and concerns; identifying areas of low membership density; encouraging members to get involved; distributing leaflets and newsletters; involvement with branch strategy.
• Representing members collectively or as individuals. This involves keeping up to date with procedures, agreements, policies and contractual conditions at your workplace; representing members at formal meetings with management; taking up collective issues with management.
• Campaigning on local, regional or national issues of importance to UCU, such as workload, stress, equality issues.
• Keeping records of meetings with the branch or members; attending meetings with other unions in your workplace.
• Recruiting new members by attending induction events, identifying non-members who might be interested in joining.
See available positions here.