Branch members

Branch members

Industrial action

Members are taking strike action on 24, 25 and 30 November 2022. Additionally, members will start to take action short of strike action from Wednesday 23 November until further notice.

We are updating our FAQs regularly and please check these in the first instance before contacting us as our response time will be longer during this busy period.

The branch operates through members volunteering. Whether that's through leading the branch on Committee, helping out with casework, getting involved in our campaigns or becoming a department rep - there's something for everyone and we provide free education and support along the way.

In partnership with our sister campus trade unions, we are recognised to negotiate and consult staff terms and conditions with University of Aberdeen management. We are a democratic and member-led union where members are encouraged to actively get involved in the branch.

We don't just provide advice and representation - a union is all about coming together to support each other and to demand change for the better for our working conditions and our students' learning conditions.

What does the local branch do?

Negotiation

AUCU negotiates formally with the University on a variety of issues including:

  • Terms and Conditions
  • Pay and Pensions
  • Policy
  • Promotions
  • Strategic Planning
  • Restructuring

Casework support

AUCU also has a team of personal caseworkers who help members who are having problems in the workplace. Caseworkers are trained to deal sensitively and discreetly with all sorts of problems. Examples include:

  • Bullying
  • Grievances
  • Disciplinary Hearings
  • Promotion
  • Avoidance of Redundancy

For further information contact ucu@abdn.ac.uk | 01224 272377.

Who does AUCU represent?

University staff are entitled to belong to the trade union of their choice, but AUCU is formally recognised to represent staff on grade 5 and above, including postgraduate students. We do not compete with other trade unions for members.

Roles represented include:

  • lecturers
  • managers
  • researchers
  • teaching fellows
  • teaching postgraduates
  • librarians
  • administrators
  • computing professionals

All members of UCU are entitled to personal casework support if required (subject to normal terms).

How does AUCU help members resolve workplace problems?

  • AUCU supports lots of members locally who are facing problems at work
  • Members are provided with personal, one-to-one casework support
  • Additional free legal support may be available if required 
What are the branch rules?

The Local Rules and Standing Orders are available for download here:

What affiliations does AUCU have?

Locally Aberdeen UCU supports a number of organisations and campaigns as well as making small one-off donations to local campaigns of particular local significance. Donations/affiliations according to the Local Rules (6.3.4):

Donations to charities or other bodies whose objects are consistent with those of the Branch/LA subject to the Branch Donation Policy (see appendix 3). Donations greater than £150.00 must be approved by a general meeting of the Branch/LA; donations up to this amount may be approved by the committee.

Local organisations supported by AUCU are as follows:

Over the past three years donations were also made to the following campaigns and charities:

  • AUSA
  • Aberdeen Trades Council
  • Aberdeen University Student Hardship Fund

 

General Information

When does the branch meet?

The committee usually meets every fortnight and all local members are welcome to attend.

AUCU holds regular general meetings during term time and an Annual General Meeting during the summer, at which members are elected to committee. All local members are welcome at and encouraged to attend General Meetings.

How can I get involved?

We welcome involvement from members and are always seeking caseworkers, committee members, focus group member and departmental representatives. Please see the Getting Involved section below for further information.

How is the local branch supported by the University?

All of the recognised campus unions have a negotiated agreement with the University, the Partnership Working & Recognition Agreement, that details the format of formal negotiation and consultation, and outlines what other forms of support the trade unions can expect from the University, such as office space, use of noticeboards etc. This agreement is reviewed annually.

For further information contact ucu@abdn.ac.uk | 01224 272377.

Related Information

Get Involved

AUCU is keen to hear from members who want to get involved. Choose how much or how little you want to do, depending on the amount of time you can spare, or the type of practical assistance you can give.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Hand out recruitment material to new staff
  • Help at recruitment stalls or induction days
  • Attend general meetings
  • Join the committee
  • Attend national conferences
  • Train as Personal Case Worker or Safety Rep - nationally run training courses are available at no cost to UCU members
  • Stick up posters and distribute newsletters
  • Contribute to the local newsletter

Read our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

Please complete and return this form to register your interest in becoming an Active Member, or contact  ucu@abdn.ac.uk | 01224 272377.

UCU nationally has a Developing Activists Network which may also be of interest.


FAQs

I would like to get involved but...

... I don't know who to ask

Your first port of call should be the AUCU Office. Our administrator, Jon Benson, will be able to answer your questions and give you some guidance about the sort of things you might be able to help with. The office is in C18, Taylor Building and is open Mondays through to Thursdays 10 am - 1 pm. Jon is contactable at ucu@abdn.ac.uk | 01224 272377. Alternatively, contact any member of the committee - they will be very pleased to hear from you and will be able to answer your questions.

... I don't have any special skills I could offer

You don't need any specific "special skills" - just a bit of time to spare and a willingness to help out. Things that you could help with include:

If behind-the-scenes is more your forte, we always need help publicising local events - poster sticking is particularly important!

... I don't have much time to spare

It all counts! If six people are able to offer us ten minutes each for sticking up posters or distributing leaflets then that's an hour of help we didn't have before. If you let us know how much time you can spare, we'll find something you can help with that fits in with your other commitments. Union reps are entitled, by law, to use a reasonable amount of their working hours to carry out union duties.

... I don't know where to find out what's going on

... I am worried that being seen as an active member might affect how others view me

Feedback from existing active members suggests that others will see you in a different light once you become a more active union member - but in a good way! Union reps are widely respected for their dedication and for the help they give to fellow union members and other members of staff. AUCU has a very good working relationship with the University and there shouldn't be any negative comeback for our active members.

... I would like to help others. Will I need special training?

Not necessarily. If you would like to become a Section/Department Rep we have a series of "How To..." information leaflets that will give you all the basic information you need. You can also get help and support from Susan in the AUCU office or any Committee member. If you want to become a Personal Case Worker or Health & Safety Rep, we recommend that you attend training. UCU and the TUC both offer free specifically targetted training courses. Some courses are available in Aberdeen. You are entitled to time off work to attend trade union training courses.

... I can't find the information I need

If you have a specific enquiry please contact ucu@abdn.ac.uk | 01224 272377.

Jargon Buster

Higher Education and UCU activity is riddled with jargon and terminology that might be obscure to the uninitiated. UCU HQ has produced a handy jargon buster, which is available to download as a PDF below:

Local Jargon

  • AR - Academic Related
  • FAE - Framework of Academic Expectations
  • HERA - Higher Education Role Analysis
  • JCCRA - Joint Consultative Committee on Redundancy Avoidance
  • JNCC - Joint Negotiating & Consultative Committee
  • (New) JNCHES - Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff
  • PGR - Postgraduate Researcher
  • PGT - Postgraduate Taught student
  • PNCC - Partnership and Negotiation Consultative Committee
  • RPG - Research Postgraduate
  • UCTL - University Committee on Teaching & Learning
  • UMG - University Management Group
  • USS - Universities Superannuation Scheme