What was UCU ever going to do for me? As an employment lawyer I had a good handle on my workplace rights. Heck, I'd even represented clients at the Employment Tribunal on employment disputes and won. What's more, I was what some people might call 'gobby.' I didn't need any help standing up for myself, thanks very much. How naïve!
From 2012 workplace changes and "efficiencies" were becoming more regular. Experienced colleagues disappearing through voluntary severance was commonplace. Valued professional support staff who I had worked with for many years were informed they were suddenly "not appointable" in the latest restructure.
Challenging what I perceived as unfairness by responding to staff consultations or feedback forums never seemed to bring about the just outcomes I thought colleagues and students deserved. Speaking out on your own can feel risky and a lone voice, no matter how loud, can only achieve so much. I needed to join my voice with others who were speaking out.
I needed my Union.
UCU has given me an official platform to challenge inequality, cuts, increased workloads, to fight for better working practices, terms and conditions, and policies. I have seen first hand both as a member, and now as an officer of the Exec how our Union brings about change - some of which is unseen because we tackle problems before they materialise.
I needed my union. And now your Union needs you.
UCU gives us all a voice. There is power in union. It has the most clout when we have a clear mandate from members. UCU will be asking members to vote on industrial action in January 2019. Whether you are in favour or against the proposal, it is essential that you vote. Changes to the law mean unions must meet a 50% turnout of eligible members (regardless of the outcome of the vote). Not hitting this threshold severely limits the action we can take to protect your interests.
So, your Union needs you.
Please make it your New Year's resolution to vote in the January pay ballot.
Victoria Murray - Equality Officer