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UCU University of Leeds branch is the union of academic and academic-related staff working at or for the University of Leeds. We are one of the largest trade union branches in UK higher education.
UCU is a collective democratic organisation. As members we agree together, where we can, our policies and our negotiating agenda. We elect department representatives and a branch committee from the academic and academic-related staff (including postgraduate students who teach) at the university to make sure others in the union knows about workplace problems in our areas, to represent the academic and academic-related staff in meetings with university senior management and to support individual members with problems at work.
UCU members get together for ‘general meetings’ scheduled throughout the year, including an annual general meeting. There are usually four to six scheduled general meetings, and on top of that members, or the committee, or the officers can call additional meetings to discuss and try to agree a policy or strategy on urgent issues.
General meetings are for all members of the branch who are able to attend. They’re where we make collective decisions which are then the agreed positions of the academic and academic-related staff of the university in the discussions with senior management. Attend if you can!
The branch rules include the ‘standing orders‘ of the meetings. These are the procedures to make to ensure decisions are made is done fairly and democratically. There’s also less official but perhaps more easily understandable advice about meetings at ‘making UCU general meetings work better‘
Scheduled general meetings for 2021-2022 academic year. (See your emails, or latest updates about general meetings, for details of any extraordinary or emergency general meetings.)
Members of the branch elect a committee each year at the Annual General Meeting. Between general meetings, members delegate the day-to-day running of the branch to the committee of elected members including branch officers. The committee meets usually every two weeks.
The committee will be most effective when it is representative of all academic and academic-related (professional and managerial) staff across the university, in different stages of their careers, including postgraduates who teach, and reflects the diversity of the membership. Standing for election to the UCU branch committee
Department representatives and local contacts
Members elect UCU department reps for our area of the university every two years, shortly after the Annual General Meeting (potentially with by-elections in the off-years where there are vacancies). This often includes department reps to focus on particular areas: department anti-casualisation rep, department postgraduate rep, department equality rep, department workloads rep, department health and safety rep. Areas without a UCU rep often have a local contact. UCU department reps and local contacts are a point of contact for union members in that school, department, service or area, and they alert the branch committee to issues concerning members in their area. Department reps will try to welcome new staff and make sure they know about the union. Choosing your UCU department rep
Working groups, action group, and activist discussion groups
Working groups work on specific areas, such as anti-casualisation, workloads or equality, and make recommendations to the branch committee. Some working groups can be a way to get involved in union activity as an alternative to being a UCU rep.
Action group is for all members wanting to get involved in UCU’s campaign activities, and there are also informal discussion groups for members who want to discuss union policy informally.
Supporting each other
We work together to support each other if we have problems at work.
UCU University of Leeds Branch rules are agreed by members at a general meeting. They’re ours and we can collectively change them if we want to at a general meeting, so long as they remain suitably consistent the model rules agreed by all members UCU’s national congress. Any member can propose a rule change in a motion to a general meeting. If you’d like advice on writing a rule change motion (or any motion) contact your department rep or the branch office.
This page was last updated on 15 June 2022