Casework

Problems at work?

UCU can only help members whose subscriptions are up to date.

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

If you are experiencing difficulties at work or have concerns relating to workplace practices, we advise that you 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.

Having read the relevant policies, if you still require advice and support from a trained rep, please contact the QMUCU casework co-ordinator with your membership number and a brief outline of the issue ucu-coordinator@qmul.ac.uk.

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.

Caseworkers are trained reps who 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.

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.

Casework Surgeries

The first step will be to arrange to attend a half-hour slot at one of our casework surgeries which 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.

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 facilities time on/off from your normal duties can be arranged.

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


Frequently Asked Question

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. If a caseworker is needed, the next step will be to fill out a form. Your caseworker 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?

Please give as much notice as possible so that we can do our best to find a rep. Due to the large case load, it is not always possible to find a rep but we can usually advise you before the meeting.

Bear in mind that a colleague can also act as companion in most formal meetings where a rep is allowed to attend.

How and when can I contact my caseworker?

Caseworkers are also members of staff and have their normal workplace duties to fulfill. While most staff are not on campus, the caseworker can advise you over email and phone or via Teams or Zoom. Caseworkers do not provide out of hours support and may also have days of the week where they are not available.

Does UCU offer legal advice?

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.