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Advice and Support from the UCU


Confidential advice and support from UCU

IMPORTANT: If you are invited to a meeting with management please read Survival guide on the blog.

Some UCU members are trained to provide confidential advice, support and representation to Royal Holloway UCU members who are experiencing difficulties regarding their employment at Royal Holloway. This has included help and advice on:

  • grievance, capability & disciplinary matters
  • advice on contracts (including the ending of fixed term contracts)
  • promotion
  • bullying and harassment
  • workload
  • flexible working
  • redundancy
  • equality issues

If you are a Royal Holloway UCU member and believe you need assistance or representation with any difficulties at work, please contact the Royal Holloway UCU Casework coordinator, Penelope Smith in the first instance. All information is confidential and will only be discussed with other members of the Committee/ caseworkers, where appropriate.The Royal Holloway UCU Casework Protocol can be found here.

Please note that we do not advise Departmental Reps to provide casework support for members in their own departments.

You may also find it useful to read the information on representing members - see link on the right. Other useful information to help you can be found on the UCU website - again follow the link on the right.

  • Royal Holloway UCU suggest that UCU members should ask for UCU representation if meeting about work related matters with a member of HR (or Senior management) present.  Even informal discussions about work can become discussion about employment matters. The branch can request that meetings are rearranged to accommodate representation. 

Membership qualification period

Please note that new members may not be offered full support and representation for issues that arose before or within 90 days of joining (this is particularly important if legal support is needed). While new members may approach the casework coordinator, a suitable caseworker may not be found immediately.

Please keep your membership details up-to-date. You may not be fully covered if details are incorrect. Update your details here...

Become a caseworker

If you become a UCU caseworker you can support your colleagues and protect yourself:

I became a caseworker because I was grateful to the caseworker who helped me when I first started asking questions about equal pay at Royal Holloway. Casework involves supporting members who are facing difficulties in the workplace, helping to ensure they are being treated fairly, equitably and reasonably in what can be very difficult and stressful times. Caseworkers gain skills, knowledge and expertise particularly in areas of employment policies and law. They are backed up by regional officers.  But beyond the good citizen aspect, caseworkers learn how to protect themselves and their colleagues when the going gets tough.  And that is increasingly useful in tough times.

I have found it very rewarding that so many of the people for whom I have been a caseworker, have gone on to help others by becoming more active in the UCU or volunteering for assessment panels where they can help to promote equalities. Many of them keep in touch years later.

If you would like to become a caseworker you will be offered excellent training opprotunities and given help and  advice from more experienced colleagues.  Please contact Penelope Smith for more information.

Find out more about the excellent training courses on offer by UCU.

Free e-learning from unionlearn and the TUC. Each eNote is a self-contained module that contains a mixture of text, video and quizzes. These last between 20 and 45 minutes and can be returned to as many times as you like. It is quick and easy to register - see here for information and registration.

Also take a look at the UCU guide to Handling casework.

UCU support for members

For details of support available for members click here.

Useful links

Links to the UCU website and other useful websites can be found here.

Links to College work-related policy and process documents can be found here.

Confidential Support Service

Other advice and support is available from Education Support Partnership, 

This service is available to all education professionals working in adult, further and higher education. It provides a free confidential support service available either by phone or online.

Representing members

Guidance notes on representing members are available here.These may be helpful for caseworkers as well as those who are experiencing difficulties at work.