Being a UCU Rep at UAL

We welcome new reps, and the more active members we have the better. You can even get time off in lieu or payment (‘facilities time’) to cover your union activities. You don’t have to be an expert! A lot of what we do involves sharing information and pointing people in the right direction. Understanding the local situation is the most valuable thing.

We form a network of people and of knowledge, so just having a regular conversation with your fellow lecturers and feeding that back to your local reps can be indispensable. If you ever feel like becoming a more formal rep then get in touch with your local college branch. UCU runs an impressive range of training courses (which UAL will pay you for attending, this is a statutory agreement) at a range of levels, for Health and Safety Reps and Site Reps.

Paul Tarrago shares his experience: You don’t have to be an expert to take part – it took me a while to figure that out, but it’s true. A lot of our work involves sharing info and advice, pointing people in the right direction, and giving appropriate support when needed.

We form a network: of people and of knowledge, so just having a regular conversation with your fellow lecturers in your staff room, teaching team — finding out what issues are pressing or of concern, and then feeding that back to your local reps — can be indispensable. We have Union branch meetings too, of course, but it’s often through everyday talk with your fellow workers that issues first come to light — and through seeking advice that problems can be nipped in the bud.

And if you ever feel like becoming a more formal rep, then UCU runs an impressive range of training courses (which the University will pay you for attending, this is a statutory agreement) at a range of levels, for Health and Safety Reps and Site Reps.

Paul Tarrago, Health and Safety rep for the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Branch

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