The success of the branch depends on its members. Committee members volunteer their time to facilitate the activities of the branch but takes its mandate from the members, first and foremost.
There are a number of ways to get involved that will contribute to the life of the branch. Depending on your interests and availability, certain roles and activities will likely suit you better. These are detailed below. Not all roles (see section reps and case work below) require you to be a member of the Committee.
We are currently in need of the following:
There are a few pre-existing Committee roles that are a vacant and some new ones have been developed to reflect the values and issues commonly identified by members as important.
Section Reps Coordinator
It would be ideal if a current section representative could take this on. The SR Coordinator would
- Liaise between SRs and Committee
- Organise occasional SR Meetings and Training once a year for new reps
- Send emails out to SRs (in coordination with Committee)
Case Work Coordinator
This role involves taking calls and/or emails from members about individual cases. You don’t need to be actively involved in case work but an understanding of case work is helpful in terms of answering some questions that members might have and allocating cases to the right case worker. There would be a hand-over period for this role, with on-going support from (trained members of) the Committee. This role involves:
- Responding to member’s inquiries
- Allocating cases to case workers from the branch
- Monitoring the cases (while maintaining member confidentiality)
Local Campaigns Coordinator
This role is for anyone interested in a supporting local campaigns on Keele-specific issue (like workload, casualisation). This would involve:
- Organising one/two local campaigns (depending on scale and duration) per year, with support of other Committee members
- Liaising with other campus unions if necessary
- Attending two Committee meetings a month
UCU Equality reps and officers work within branches to promote equality with the employer and union members. This could include looking at issues such as flexible working, absence management, discriminatory practices, equal pay and equality impact assessments. Training (from UCU) is available for this vital branch role. What it will involve may depend on developments within the university and what the prospective rep is interested in working on. Black members, women members, LGBT members and members with disabilities are particularly welcome to work on this aspect of branch activity.
If you are interested in a specific issue (e.g. workload, PGT/Sessional teaching, equality, health and safety, environment, transport, disability, LGBT issues, research contracts etc) you can get involved with the Committee or, where relevant, focus on that issue within your unit/area. This might involve:
- Attending relevant institutional meetings (ad hoc policy review groups, regular committees like Health & Safety Committee)
- Engaging with Local Campaigns Coordinator and other interested branch members
- Reporting to Committee when relevant (up to two meetings per month)
At the moment, we need someone with a bit of a head for numbers to work on a discrete project – Facilities Time Arrangements review. Facilities Time is the name given to the paid time off for working on union duties (not all union activities are covered by this). A review of the money given to UCU at Keele is long overdue but it is a very important mechanism for enabling the busy Committee members to do the work necessary to represent and protect members. The Committee are very happy to liaise with someone who would put together some of the existing research (from TUC, UCU) along with local information about the work of the branch to make a business case for better support of K-UCU. We don’t think this would take more than a few months. If you wanted to do something AMAZING for the branch but cannot commit long-term, this is the project for you!
Non-Committee Roles and Activities
You may not want to commit to regular Committee meetings but still want to contribute. Here are some of the things that you could do:
There are still a few areas without a section rep and any area can have more than one. If you’re interested in being a liaison between colleagues in your section and the Committee, get in touch with Jacco van Loon.
If you take on case work, you can limit the number of cases you do according to your own availability. You do not need to be on the Committee to be a caseworker. The only requirement for this activity is attendance at the relevant training (we can arrange this). If you’re interested in supporting colleagues with individual cases (grievance, disciplinary), please get in touch with Kay Tong or Tim Smale.