Working Safely During The Pandemic: Interactive Webinar

All staff are invited to take part in an interactive webinar entitled Working Safely During the Pandemic which your union is putting on for staff at the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University. The webinar has evolved from the previous iteration, which was called Taking Care of Yourself, and now addresses all the hot topics surrounding how we can work safely this autumn, and especially focuses on what your employer needs to do to protect you and your students.

Working Safely During the Pandemic will be delivered via zoom on Wednesday 14 October at 10.30am & 2.00pm. You are welcome to attend either session.

The full aims of the interactive webinar are to:

  1. understand why it’s important to unapologetically protect your health and wellbeing at this time
  2. identify some of the challenges you face in working safely whether from home, back in the workplace or a blend of the two
  3. Be clear about what support you can expect from your employer
  4. Identify support available from UCU

How it will work

The taught session will last for about 50-60 minutes, after which a member of UCU staff, or a branch activist, will update you on the latest UCU campaigning work in this area and will lead a discussion on what this all means for you, which should take another 15 to 20 minutes. The consensus is that the these discussions take away the isolation of lone working and begin to establish norms that are acceptable to us. The total time commitment will be less than an hour and a half.

The session will be led by experienced UCU CPD tutors. 

You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. I would also recommend that you check that you can use zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.

How to apply

If you want to take part in the 10.30am  webinar click the link here

If you want to take part in the 2.00pm  webinar click the link here

I do need to stress that if you do say that you want to be involved I need you to treat that as a commitment as we need a full complement on the day. 

You will then be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using zoom, along with a couple of points to think about before the webinar. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. I would also recommend that you do join 5 to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems.

If you have any questions please email Glen at

I very much hope that you will be able to take part on the 14th October.

Take good care,

Rob Hancock and Glen Pickard, UCU CPD Team


Covid-19 Pandemic 2020

UCU has provided a wide range of information relating to the pandemic which can be accessed here


Local voluntary subscription 

Expenditure was higher than usual last year, in the main because of the cost of hiring Dunbar Hall as our strike base.  In order to return the bank account to the level required to ensure the branch is sufficiently solvent to meet all financial obligations, members proposed introducing a voluntary local subscription.  If any member wishes to do so, they may set up an instruction with their bank to deposit money directly into the branch account – either a one payment or a regular small payment.  Members will retain control over the payments and may vary/cancel at any time. This is an entirely voluntary scheme.

Bank details...


Account no: 50510870

Sort code: 60-83-01


AUCU COVID-19 impact report

Data reported are accurate on 16 April 2020.

COVID-19 has presented us all with a once-in-a-lifetime challenge. AUCU were keen to understand what the real-world impact has been on staff at the University of Aberdeen. We therefore conducted a brief survey to gather information that might inform AUCUs strategy about matters affecting our members and non-members who we represent.

In order to do this, we emailed AUCU members a link to the survey. Additionally, we emailed some members of staff who have access to mailing lists asking if they will help to disseminate, and encouraged sharing of the survey to colleagues to help reach non-members. In total 56 members of staff completed the survey (as of 16 April 2020). Of these, 29 (52 %) were on casualised contracts. Therefore, it is likely these data are not fully representative of the entire University of Aberdeen staff population under AUCUs remit, but they do nonetheless represent valid experiences of those who completed the survey.

Key messages:

  • Commendation of SMT for their rapid response, clear communications, and empathetic messages regarding workload expectations
  • A concern for job security, particularly as contracts are due to come to an end, and the job market has collapsed
  • Financial concerns, related to both job security, lost work/pay, and the increased costs of working from home
  • Issues surrounding working conditions, equipment, internet connectivity, etc whilst working at home
  • The impact on workload (namely that it has increased) combined with lower productivity and more difficult working conditions
  • General concern for mental health and wellbeing, in particular related to the abovementioned issue.

You can see the report here. For brevity, not all themes have been reported in this document, but a full report can be provided on request to AUCU on  

COVID-19 Contact Information from local MP


  • Scottish Government helpline: 0800 028 2816.
    Open daily from 8am – 10pm
  • Also Google “NHS Inform coronavirus”

If you have symptoms

  • Call 111 if you need advice.   You can call this 24 hours a day.  Do not call your GP practice
  • Use NHS inform if you need a sick note – do not call 111

Business Owners

  • HMRC helpline: 0800 0159 559
    Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.

    Scottish Enterprise helpline: 0300 303 0660.
    Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm


Home Office helpline: 0800 678 1767
Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm


Age Scotland: 0800 12 44 222
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm



Shelter Scotland:0808 800 4444
Opening hours are Monday-Friday 8am-8pm; weekends 8am-5pm



  • Parentline Scotland: 0800 028 2233
    Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm; weekends 9am to noon.


  • Lone Parent Helpline: 0808 801 0323
    Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm


  • Contact: 0808 808 3555
    Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5pm


Online advice on managing the impact of Covid-19 on their child’s learning and family life:


  • Breathing Space Scotland: 0800 83 85 87
    Opening hours are Monday - Thursday 6pm to 2am; Friday 6pm - Monday 6am


  • SSPCA: 03000 999 999
    Opening hours are 7am-10pm every day


  • From Thursday 19th March, people receiving benefits do not have to attend job centre appointments for three months.
  • Fit notes will not be required for people who need to claim ESA Universal Credit because of coronavirus 
  • Jobcentres remain open and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.


  • New ESA claimants who are diagnosed with or are staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus will have money for the first 7 days of your claim included in their first payment.

  • People diagnosed with or staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit, and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre

  • People diagnosed with or staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus, will not be sanctioned, but must inform the DWP in good time.

  • If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to having symptoms of coronavirus an Isolation Note can be obtained from NHS 111 online. If you live with someone that has symptoms, an Isolation Note can be obtained from the NHS website


  • Statutory Sick Pay will be payable if you are staying at home on Government advice, not just if you are infected by coronavirus. This will apply from 13 March 2020.

  • People diagnosed with or staying at home on Government advice due to coronavirus, will have the work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness


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For further information on any matter please contact Susan Melvin -| 01224 272377