Casework

Advice on workplace issues related to your employment at QMUL are available for all our members.

If you require advice and support from a UCU caseworker, please contact the QMUCU casework co-ordinator with your membership number and a brief outline of the issue ucu-coordinator@qmul.ac.uk.

Casework Surgery is held on Wednesday 2-5pm

When you contact us we will offer you a meeting with a trained caseworker via our casework surgeries. Caseworkers are QMUL employees who are also trained reps who can advise individual members who are experiencing difficulties at work. If there is a collective issue in your department or unit, it will be more fruitful to organize a local UCU meeting. This can be supported by the branch. Contact any member of the current QMUCU committee.

Our casework surgeries are usually are held on Wednesday afternoons, typically between 2-5pm. To attend the surgery email ucu-coordinator@qmul.ac.uk with a summary of your issue. If Wednesday afternoons are not possible for you let us know and we will try to find another time that is more suitable. All our meetings are 30 mins long and on zoom. We can also arrange telephone consultations if you prefer.

Don’t wait until it’s an emergency. Please get in touch as soon as you think there may be a problem. We are unlikely to be able to find a rep to accompany you to formal meetings at short notice.

Preparing for your meeting

In advance of your meeting with a caseworker please check the current QM workplace policies and Equalities policies. This will help you determine whether there may be grounds for pursuing an issue through UCU.

The ACAS helpline and ACAS guides are another source of advice on your rights at work.

Caseworkers can only advise on the practical aspects of problems at work, and the Union provides a community that offers solidarity. However, if you are feeling stressed, anxious or distressed, then we strongly advise that you seek professional help.

Becoming a caseworker
Members of any Trade Union are part of a community that offers mutual support, advice and solidarity. Any member can become a caseworker. UCU head office runs short training courses, and Queen Mary branch offers mentoring from experienced reps.

Doing casework is a rewarding activity, and you are entitled to facilities time on/off from your normal duties in order to fulfill your caseworker functions.

If you would like to train as a UCU caseworker, please contact the casework co-ordinator (ucu-coordinator@qmul.ac.uk).


Frequently Asked Questions

When should I get in touch?

As soon as you have identified a problem or potential problem. The longer things are left, the harder it can be to intervene successfully. We are very unlikely to be able to assist or accompany you to meetings at short notice.

What can I expect?

We will discuss your situation at the casework surgery. It might be that you just want to ask for advice or are thinking of submitting a complaint. Or you might need a rep to attend a formal hearing. The intial meeting will determin if a caseworker is needed. If you are allocated a caseworker they will support you in identifying your preferred outcome, any negotiating points, and a strategy to achieve the best possible solution. Bear in mind though that we do not write emails for you or prepare documents, our role is to advise only.

Who will my caseworker be?

The co-ordinator allocates cases to reps who have availability and experience in the issues affecting you. Some reps specialize in particular issues such as anti-casualisation or equalities.

Can I request a rep to accompany me to a formal meeting?

Attending formal meetings can be daunting. QMUCU will always do our best to find a rep to attend with you. However we all have other work commitments so please give us as much notice as possible.

How and when can I contact my caseworker?

Caseworkers are also members of staff and have their normal workplace duties to fulfill. A caseworker can meet you in person but it is often easier to provide advice via email and phone or via Teams or Zoom. Caseworkers do not work full-time as caseworkers. They do not provide out of hours support and may also have days of the week where they are not available.

Legal support is arranged through UCU Head Office not by caseworkers. You have to have been a member for at least 3 months to qualify. Please see the UCU legal scheme pages on the UCU main website.