Why go to conference?

Sitting in a windowless hall during a debate on the amendment of a motion, I wondered this.

And realised – it’s democracy in action, which isn’t always as exciting as it sounds!

UEA UCU President at conference

UEA UCU President Amanda Williams speaking to a motion

Like everything, there are good and bad bits.

Procedure, policy, rule changes.







But also networking, inspirational stories, different experiences.


Sheila Coleman


I’ve come back fortified by solidarity, and reminded of everything a union achieves, not just pay, but much, much more: improved, fairer working conditions and rights, highlighting the issues faced by those on casual contracts, or because of colour, gender, sexuality, or disability.





The incoming Trade Union Act means all members need to engage, not just the activists.


It’s our union, our voice, our vote.UCU mug your union your voice your vote

Q&A with a case worker

Case workers play a vital part in unions – they are members who after training can provide support


For those interested in what a union case worker does, here is a discussion with one of the UEA case workers.


How did you get involved as a UCU case worker?

A colleague at work was doing it and we often chatted about what was involved and when he left I took over from him


How much time does it take?

This can vary and is up to you. However you do need to attend meetings which often take up to an hour and you will need to meet with members to discuss their problems either in yours or their office or over a cup of coffee.


Do you need to know about employment law?

Not really. I did not know anything when I first started and have gradually picked up bits and pieces. Talking to other case workers or UCU head office generally gets answers to questions.

What do you enjoy about it?

I enjoy meeting and interacting with other people on campus and helping them where possible in dealing with problems they have. That’s not to say it is always pleasant as often people come to us only when they are upset or unhappy with things at work.


Any hints for those thinking of volunteering?

Be willing to sit and listen to people and  support them where possible. Often its not the advice we give but the support that we give that people appreciate as they often feel overwhelmed by HR and management and our being there gives the member confidence.


Want to find out more?  Contact ucu.office@uea.ac.uk