Countdown to National Recruitment Weeks – HE 27 February & FE 6 March

Countdown to National Recruitment Weeks – HE (27 Feb) & FE (6 Mar)

 NRW #2 is approaching at a time when joining UCU has never been more important. Branches across the region are organising a range of activity for the two recruitment weeks. From mailshots to leafletting sessions and walkthroughs. Feedback from NRW #1 showed a positive impact on membership numbers where branches are actively recruiting.

 The regional office is here to support this work and this is a basic guide to anyone involved in face-to-face recruitment.

 Approaching non-members can be a challenge but it’s also a very successful way to promote UCU membership and to get them to join. It can also be way to get a handle on the issues which people face at work and obviously boost the profile of the union in the workplace.

 Where is best to target with a door-knocking session or staff room tour and when is the best time? Will staff be around to speak to? Set yourself a target of contacts in the time you have available and have a backup plan if people aren’t about.

 Work as a team – working pairs or small groups will enable you work faster and cover more ground. It also makes it less challenging and more fun. Why not run a recruitment session after a branch exec meeting?

 If you can target non-members using a membership list, so much the better. It can be an opportunity to speak to members too, but don’t forget that your focus is on recruiting non-members.

 If you are approaching non-members where they work, it may be obvious whether they are eligible to join.

 Think about the reason for calling – could you run a simple survey on a local issue (“what concerns most at work”) or could you just say that you are speaking to staff in the department about a particular issue? The most direct approach is that you are asking people to join UCU.

 As with any recruitment conversation, have your opening line ready and follow 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?

 Be bold and smile – the worst that can happen is that people are busy and don’t want to talk. Most people will be glad to see you, happy to talk and hopefully, happy to join.

 If you can get them to join online or over the phone there and then, it will take about 5 minutes. If they can’t sign up straight away, or they haven’t got time to talk, ask if you can call again.

 Leave a calling card – whether you speak to a non-member or not, always leave something behind which shows that you have called.

 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

 We 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.


One Day without Us – 20 February

One Day Without Us 20 February 2017

The Regional Office would like to draw your attention to an event that is being held on 20 February. This is not a UCU event but we are aware that a number of institutions are running activities on the day and you might be approached about it. If they haven’t contacted you then you might want to initiate contact with your employer to find out whether there is any joint work that you can do that day, or organise a UCU event.

1 Day Without Us is a National Day of Action on 20th Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice.

For 24 hours, we are inviting migrants from inside and outside the European Union, and everyone who supports them, to celebrate the contribution that migrants make. Some may choose to do this symbolically, by wearing badges and lanyards, posting selfies or pictures that show your support, or putting posters in their windows.

Some may wish to have a communal meal or a party with the migrants they have known as friends, colleagues, workmates and neighbours. Workers may take a five-minute silence or a mini-rally at lunchtime or tea-time.

There are also those who may wish to highlight migrant contributions to the UK in more direct ways. Some may prefer a march or a rally. Others may decide to stop work or leave their classes for ten minutes or an hour or the whole day. (N.B. please note that UCU is not recommending anyone leave work without permission from your employer as any such action would result in you being in breach of your contract. Please seek advice from the Regional Office before taking such action).

There are many ways that you can take part in this day. Do what you feel able to do and what you feel is most appropriate to your situation.

Whatever your nationality and place of origin; wherever you live and work, join us and make February 20 a day of protest, solidarity and celebration. _____________________________________________To find out what’s happening in your area, visit

Contact your employer and find out whether they are going to be supporting this and if so, what they are planning.


8 February – UCU day of Action Against Workplace Racism

UCU day of action against workplace racism

On 8 February 2017 UCU will be holding a day of action against workplace racism.

‘…you’re really articulate for a black person’

‘…but where are you REALLY from?’

‘…although it seems very minor, consistent and persistent misspelling of my name.  If you can learn Dostoyevsky…’

Extracts from the UCU survey into the experiences of black workers in further and higher education, 2015

Our theme this year is ‘This is what racism looks like‘ and follows on from our successful first day of action against workplace racism held on 10 February 2016. The campaign aims to highlight the issues faced in our workplaces by black workers in the post-16 education sector and to raise the profile and progression of race equality in the union.

Suggested branch activities for the day of action

Branches are encouraged to choose one of these activities to mark the day and raise awareness in their workplaces:

  • film showings – using the ‘Witness’ film chronicling the lived experiences of UCU black members
  • share  the ‘witness’ document [824kb] capturing some of the experiences of UCU’s black members
  • meetings to promote or discuss the  findings of the survey of BME staff [132kb]
  • joint meetings with NUS – suggested themes ‘Liberate My Degree’ or ‘Decolonise the Curriculum’
  • stalls to distribute the challenging workplace racism pack – posters and leaflets can be found on the dedicated page on the UCU website
  • promote the ‘Black Voices’ blog on the UCU website
  • you can also find details above of events being held on the day of action 2017.

Branches are also being encouraged to use the UCU bargaining guide on tackling workplace racism and to raise the issues identified with employers as an integral part of the collective bargaining agenda.