Below are the formal roles or positions in the branch – what each entails and who the current incumbents are. Most roles are shared by two or more members.
Several roles have ‘facility’ time attached. This is time we have negotiated with the institution’s HR department to allow us to conduct our affairs. It’s currently equivalent to two full time people, but is split amongst several people. An officer with 0.2 facility time, for example, will have only 80% of a ‘normal’ workload, leaving them 20% or one day a week (on average) to devote to UCU activities. In reality, all officers give up more their time to union work that they receive in facility time – and of course all the work of those without facility time is voluntary.
Almost all officers in receipt of facility time take on case work; and they are also the people to attend most of the negotiating meetings with university managers. In this sense the amount of facility time associated with a role is not a good indicator of how much work that role entails.
Everyone involved in the branch is invited to be involved in planning its strategy.
Responsible for chairing/facilitating committee and general members’ meetings; checking branch rules and the constitution are followed; often the first contact with University Leadership Team; plays major role in negotiations with managers; participates in various management meetings, e.g. JNCC.
Responsible for many aspects of the day-to-day running of the branch including: supervision of our paid organisers; arrangement of member and committee meetings; oversight of membership and recruitment; liaison with national and regional UCU; organisation of ballots; and provision of regular reports. Also involved in negotiating for the branch and part of the roster for JNCCs, various separate ordinance negotiation processes, guideline consultation processes, and any business cases or restructuring collective consultations that crop up – and the associated prep work, analysis, and debriefing.
Responsible for branch finances.
Equalities Officers & Representatives
Responds to enquiries from LUCU members on equalities issues: these typically relate to promotion and PDD issues, when a member is concerned that an equalities issue has not been taken into account or where discriminatory practice is suspected – sometimes these lead to ‘cases’, sometimes not. The Equalities officers also: review EIAs; attend University EDIT meetings; communicate with the UCU Equality & Participation unit (e.g. gathering data in response to queries); and engage in proactive equalities work.
Oversees branch policy on issues associated with precarious contracts.
Responsible for branch communications with members, specifically via emails, our website and social media. The Communications officer both provides much of the communications ‘content’ and seeks to commission articles from other members. [See link to comms in activities doc.]
Acts as main coordinator for our campaigning work, in support of greater equalities, against redundancies, and so on.
Academic Related and Professional Staff Representative
Ensures concerns of academic related and professional services members are heard.
Professorial Staff Representative
Health and Safety Officer
Ensures UCU’s responsibilities concerning health and safety in our workplace are fulfilled.
Acts as central point of contact for members requesting help from their union. The casework coordinator liaises with both these members and with caseworkers, pairing member with caseworker.
Students’ Union Liaison
Responsible – along with other officers – for liaising with the University of Leicester Students’ Union.
Monitors developments with USS pension fund, advising the branch on these.
Climate change and mass extinction are now (rightly) high on the agenda. Universities in general and the University of Leicester in particular could do much more in their response – from sale of plastic in catering outlets to energy usage, to investment in and acceptance of research funding from fossil fuel companies. Monitoring these issues and proposing a union response is an essential role.
Audits the branch accounts.
Responsible for departmental level communication with members (e.g. distributing posters and fliers); meeting members and feeding their concerns and information on local issues to the wider branch; accompanying members to meetings with managers, if required; organising department-level members’ meetings when necessary; inviting all new members of staff to join the union.