NRW Countdown – Running a Recruitment Stall

National Recruitment Week Countdown – 21-24 Nov – running a recruitment stall

With NRW 1 approaching fast many branches are planning a recruitment stall during the week to pull in new members.

We know that activities that put you in face to face contact with non-members are the best way to recruit. Meeting like this enables non-members to put a face to the name, and to UCU, ensuring that they can relate to you and what you do for the union. Don’t forget – the UCU reps badge is valuable – not because it’s made of platinum but because it’s attached to you and no one is better placed to talk about what you do on behalf of your colleagues.

Running a recruitment stall works but it can take a bit of planning.

Here are some hints and tips:

Book your recruitment stall if you need to and think through the best location and timing for the stall. Will you be overrun by students or can you find a place which enables you to have a decent conversation with potential members? Running a stall in a prominent position will have a positive impact on the profile of your branch.

  • Give yourself time to set up and don’t forget that having a visual hook to get people to the stall is crucial.
  • Order your materials today (use the online form here) and make sure that you have something to give away and the right materials.
  • As members can join online or over the phone, having a laptop or access to a phone on the stall can be a real bonus to ensure that would-be members sign up there and then. Could you offer a free gift to anyone joining on the day?
  • Have your opening line ready. “Are you a member of academic staff (or academic related or research staff where relevant)?” and “have you ever thought about joining UCU?” are good starters.
  • Following this up with some of the key benefits of joining – the Why you Should be a Member leaflet is a good start.
  • If you’ve got a local issue running, can you run a petition or have a briefing ready to give out on the stall?
  • Make sure they don’t leave empty-handed – it seems simple, but having a branded leaflet or even a pen can act as a reminder and will boost the profile of UCU in the workplace.
  • Keep a visitors list – if someone didn’t have time to talk or join up on the spot, ask if it’s ok to follow them up at some point.Don’t forget to keep in touch with us about your plans for National Recruitment Week. To order recruitment materials, use the online form here.If you need help with your event on the day, please let your link official know or email the regional office on are looking to highlight branch plans around region on our blog (which features our guide to recruitment and organising) and you can find a host of good ideas on the national Build the Union site.Good luck!With best
  • UCU Eastern and Home Counties Regional Office

UCU Responds to New Report on Graduate Gender Pay Gap

23 October 2016 

Starting salaries for female graduates are significantly lower on average than those for their male counterparts, a new study published today has revealed.

Responding to the findings of a report by new window, which shows that male graduates earn an average of £1,400 more than female graduates, UCU said that the findings echoed its own research on the gender pay gap in colleges and universities, adding that more needed to be done to tackle persistent barriers to equal pay.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘This report lays bare the scale of inequality facing our graduates in terms of pay. It’s deeply troubling that, nearly 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, women are still getting paid significantly less for doing the same work.

‘The report shows that the pay gap is widespread, and UCU’s own findings show that women are paid an average of £990 less per year in colleges and £6,103 less per year in universities than their male counterparts. If we hope to change things for the next generation of graduates, we urgently need a firm commitment from business and the education sector to tackling persistent barriers to equal pay.’

Get Planning for Recruitment Week – 21-25 November

The first National Recruitment Week of the year is fast approaching and the regional office are encouraging branches to get planning for recruitment activity in that week.

UCU runs emailshots to eligible non-members where we can during national recruitment weeks. Branches can time this to coincide with other recruitment activity and can use a national template message to highlight any local branch activity. Making a direct approach to non-members to join the union is a very effective means of recruiting new members. The emailshot includes a clear national message about the benefits of joining and can be adapted to include local messages, contacts and local achievements. It’s also a great opportunity for reps to make contact with non-members to follow up the email face to face and respond to any questions about joining – reps have a the perfect start to a conversation knowing that the emailshot will have reached non-members.

What you can do if you want to run an emailshot in your institution;

The starting point is staff lists so if you haven’t already, get in touch with your link official in the regional office (Lydia, Jane or Ben) to agree the text of your message and sort out the contact data. There is a deadline of Friday 11 Nov to sort out the data where we can and to agree the text of the message with your branch. We can explain and help you with all elements of this.

  • Come up with a plan to follow up the emailshot – can you target a department or building where membership could do with a boost? Can you run a stall or a door knocking session to target potential members who have received the recruitment email? Don’t forget to keep in touch with us about your plans for National Recruitment Week. To order recruitment materials, use the online form here.If you need help with your event on the day, please let your link official know or email the regional office on are looking to highlight branch plans around region on our blog (which features our guide to recruitment and organising) and you can find a host of good ideas on the national Build the Union site.

Voice Care for Educators 2 November – University of East Anglia

A practical and interactive workshop designed to help you find, use, enjoy and maintain your voice. This one-day workshop looks at ways to keep your voice healthy as well as use it to best advantage in a teaching environment.


  • improving understanding of how voice is made and what affects it
  • how teaching staff can best protect the voice, in order to prevent strain and loss. Improved vocal stamina
  • increasing awareness of voice skills in communication.

What they said about this course:

“This was the best course I’ve ever attended. It has given me more confidence, made me a more effective presenter and prevented damage to my vocal chords!”

– UCU member, Middlesbrough College

Upcoming courses

All of our courses are free of charge to UCU members. Unless otherwise stated, any member is entitled to attend any course advertised on this website, but please note UCU is unable to pay members’ travel and accommodation expenses to attend CPD events. We aim to make our courses as accessible to members as possible with events running in a wide range of locations.


UCU responds to reports that non-UK academics have been barred from advising on Brexit issues

UCU responds to reports that non-UK academics have been barred from advising on Brexit issues

7 October 2016

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘If the government is indeed turning down advice from experts in European Union affairs purely on the basis of which country they are from, then this goes against the very nature of an open and independent academic community. The decision will send a chill through the academic community and make it harder still to persuade people to study and work here.

The process of the UK leaving the European Union is a complicated one and an issue that the government should be seeking advice from all relevant quarters. I would ask that the government reverse this decision and ensure that the best qualified people are able to offer advice where ever necessary.’

UCU comments on the Home Secretary’s proposals for overseas students

UCU comments on the Home Secretary’s proposals for overseas students

4 October 2016

UCU has condemned new proposals on international student recruitment announced by the home secretary at the Conservative Party conference today.

UCU says the proposed consultation on tightening up the student visa system, which will look at limiting international student recruitment to the ‘best’ universities and courses, equates to pulling up the drawbridge on thousands of potential students and sending out a message that the UK is closed for business.

The union highlighted that international students made up 18% of the UK higher education student body in 2014, and make an enormous contribution to UK higher education, both educationally and economically.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘This proposal to limit overseas students to particular universities and courses equates to pulling up the drawbridge and sending a message that the UK is closed for business.

‘Our universities’ international student recruitment is a huge success story because overseas students are attracted by the quality of higher education available. International students make an enormous contribution to UK higher education both educationally and economically. As highly skilled people, they make an invaluable contribution to our economy.

‘Ministers need to take a very different approach and support universities by removing international students from the net migration target altogether.’

UCU condemns shameful employment practices at Coventry University’s subsidiary company

27 September 2016 | last updated: 28 September 2016

Coventry University is today being accused of employing shameful employment practices and moving staff around a network of subsidiary companies to avoid having to deal with trade unions or give staff a fair deal.

The allegations come in a letter from UCU which has written to Coventry University condemning the actions of its subsidiary company CU Services Ltd.

The union said the company’s actions in sacking staff and planning to re-engage them as agency workers just weeks after they had voted unanimously for union recognition were reminiscent of allegations made about Sports Direct and had no place in the higher education sector.

As reported in today’s GuardianOpens new window Coventry University owns a series of companies that it uses to employ its staff. These companies have refused to recognise UCU to represent their staff.

Earlier this month staff at CU Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the university, won their long-running battle for union recognition, voting by 100% on a 73% turnout, to have UCU represent them. These staff teach English to international students who go on to study at Coventry University.

Now, just a few weeks after UCU secured recognition, CU Services Ltd has announced that it is ‘reviewing its business model’ and sacking many of its staff. These staff have been told that if they want to continue doing the same work, they will have to register as agency workers with a company called thefutureworks – a trading name of Coventry University Enterprises Ltd, also wholly owned by Coventry University.

Coventry University has insisted that its subsidiary companies are autonomous and make their own decisions. However, the companies have only one shareholder, which is Coventry University, while their directors include senior university officers and members of Coventry University’s board of governors. Until October last year, vice-chancellor John Latham sat on the board of CU Services Ltd.

UCU is calling on CU Services Ltd to immediately reverse this decision and for the university to engage constructively with UCU to negotiate recognition at all its education subsidiary companies.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘It is extraordinary that at a time when companies like Sports Direct are being forced to review their employment practices, we see the Times Higher EducationOpens new window university of the year using tactics like this to deny hard-working and vulnerable staff their union voice and diminish their employment rights. This is a shameful episode and the actions of Coventry University’s subsidiary company are an embarrassment to the sector.

‘CU Services Ltd must immediately reverse its decision and Coventry University needs to stop hiding behind the so-called autonomy of its companies and start to constructively engage with UCU at all its education subsidiaries. Students and the wider public who contribute so much to our universities deserve to know what is happening to the hard-working staff who teach them.

For our part, UCU will continue its fight to ensure that everyone teaching at Coventry University and its subsidiaries has the same right to union recognition.’