Problems at work

We elect UCU reps for our department, school or in the university. If there’s a problem affecting a group of members, or a whole team, school or service, make sure your department UCU rep knows about it. Your UCU department reps will help to organise how we deal with the problem collectively. Some UCU department reps specialise in anti-casualisation, postgraduate, workload or health and safety issues, so we’ve several reps in some departments. If you haven’t elected reps for your department, have a think who might be good for the role and contact the branch office for advice on how to go about it.

General advice

The national UCU website has general answers to a lot of common questions about work and contract issues.

Individual problems at work

To get help with an individual work-related problem email contact the branch office to arrange for a UCU volunteer caseworker to support you. UCU caseworkers are members of the branch who are trained to deal with work-related problems.

If appropriate your caseworker will arrange for legal advice, but for most issues at work that isn’t needed.

To make sure you can be supported, join the union when you start work, not when things start to go wrong.

Sexual harassment helpline

Sexual harassment helpline 0800 138 8724

This is a dedicated service for UCU members which any UCU member can reach on 0800 138 8724. The helpline is in collaboration with Education Support. Any member who has concerns or is experiencing sexual harassment can call 0800 138 8724 in confidence, free of charge and 24/7 to talk about their experience, discuss options, receive counselling (if clinically appropriate) and details of further sources of support, if necessary. For more details see ucu.org.uk/article/9316/Sexual-Harassment-Support-Helpline

For support from a UCU volunteer caseworker in dealing with the university about sexual harassment contact the branch office or any UCU rep you feel comfortable talking to.

Legal advice

For legal advice about:

  • immigration employment issues
  • police matters relating to work
  • personal injury

see ucu.org.uk/legal

For work-related problems it’s not usually necessary to get legal advice. In the first instance arrange for a UCU volunteer caseworker and you can discuss any possible legal aspects with them.

Support, counselling, debt/budgeting advice and assistance, time management and wellbeing advice

UCU members contribute to Education Support, which provides support and advice on a whole range of issues. You can contact Education Support anytime, day or night, by phone, email, text or webchat. For details see educationsupport.org.uk/helping-you

Continuous professional development

To help each other in our work and careers UCU members have arranged for guidance and courses for continual professional development.

Offers from law, finance and insurance companies

For details of these arrangements, which includes a will service, see ucu.org.uk/ucuplus

Problems within UCU

The national union conduct and complaints page explains the process for complaints about the service provided by union employees, and the formal process for complaints that union member may have breached the rules of the union, which can see members barred from elected roles or even removed from membership. You will need to be logged in to read that article.

At a local level, committee members are normally elected for a full academic year but members can vote to remove a committee member early at a general meeting of members using rule 12 of the branch rules.

This page was last updated on 24 March 2021