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February 1st, 2016:

We need you to help Build the Union at Southampton

We are looking for active members to build the UCU branch at Southampton University. There are a variety of ways that members can get involved.

A branch representative

The main role of the branch or departmental representatives is to sustain the branch. This can be broken down into five main areas:

  • Recruiting – attending induction events, identifying non-members
  • Organising – 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 – either collectively or individual members. 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.
  • Other tasks – such as keeping records of meetings with the branch or members; attending meetings with other unions in your workplace.

A local/workplace contact

A contact 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 work area feel that the union is present, relevant and listens to them. Some tasks associated with this role are to:

  • Distribute union literature on behalf of your branch or the national union to department or work area colleagues.
  • Act as a point of liaison between members in your immediate work area and the branch.
  • Distribute union messages to non-members

A local caseworker

When members are facing problems at work, they can expect the help of local caseworkers to discuss their concerns with, and to accompany them to formal meetings if necessary. As a local 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 and resolve issues informally.
  • Accompany members to formal hearings such as disciplinary, capability or grievance.

We understand that you may not feel you have the time to devote to one of these roles, but without local reps, contacts and caseworkers the branch would have a lot less influence at work. Research shows that union members in the UK receive higher pay and better terms and conditions than non-members. It is the power and influence of the union that comes from working collectively and the more people the branch/LA represents and the more unified they are, the more authority and bargaining power we have. So please do think about how you can get involved to Build the Union.

Please contact the local branch to discuss how you can help. Call Amanda on x 22364 or email