This web site is designed to help you, our branch officers and representatives, to build our union at branch and local association level.
UCU is a democratic organisation reliant to a large degree on the large-scale participation of its volunteer members. How effective we are as an industrial force and professional body, protecting our members, depends on how well our participatory structures work.
- Do we have enough local representatives?
- Are members able to get involved in raising the profile of the union locally?
- Are our branches communicating effectively with their members?
- Are members coming to branch meetings?
- Are members participating in elections and ballots?
The answers to all these questions determine how much our employers – and the government – listen to us.
That’s why the union has put in place a series of new initiatives to help build our union:
- a drive to recruit new members to offset the effects of the government’s cuts to post-secondary education.
- a drive to recruit new local department or workplace representatives, to ensure that UCU branches are healthy at the most local possible level
- a drive to ensure that our branches are equipped with the resources and skills necessary to ensure the maximum possible engagement in branch life from their members
On this website, we will feature all our latest advice and guidance to branches, alongside all the examples of good and inspiring practice that we know is already happening.
With more and more bargaining taking place at local level, it’s more important than ever that branches have plenty of reps with the training necessary to deal with their employers. Whether you are a new or more experienced UCU rep, our training programme will give you all the skills, information and support you need to get the most out of the role, both for your members, and yourself. UCU takes its activist training programme extremely seriously and every effort is made to ensure all our materials reflect the scope and depth of knowledge our reps require.
The UCU programme begins with introductory courses that are designed to equip newer reps with the necessary competence and confidence to deal with the challenges and opportunities that the role presents. The introductory courses cover the essentials of UCU’s structure, facility time, branch organising and campaigning along with practical advice and tips from experienced professionals. These courses are also open to more experienced reps who perhaps have not completed training in the past, or who would like to update their skills. We would normally recommend that reps update their skills every five years in order to keep abreast of current legislation and practice.
Oxbridge is different. Not in the way the university managements like to think perhaps, but even for UCU, organising at these universities presents particular challenges. Both are very decentralised universities with heavy concentrations of researchers, particularly in sciences, struggling for stable career paths in ‘elite’ institutions. So the trick for UCU’s activists in Oxford and…
Our latest guest blog post is from Chloe Jeffries, membership secretary at the University of Oxford’s UCU branch. Chloe explains how her branch is building a map of their existing and potential membership as a vital tool to help them develop plans for sustainable recruitment: *** Mapping members is an important task. We at Oxford UCU began mapping our members…
It’s a truism that we recruit well when we are actively campaigning on popular issues, but it’s no less true that we have to embed regular systems for encouraging people to join at every level of our union. In recent blog posts, we’ve highlighted branches who have really taken up that challenge. But that’s also…
We’ve had good reports in from our branches at Aberdeen and Lancaster universities. Firstly, Lancaster have sent us a report detailing how they use their regular lists of new starters at the university to develop regular targeted letters of introduction from the union, tailoring them to the employment, contract and discipline of each new starter.…