Time is running out. Universities UK have to commit to meaningful negotiations over pensions.

How do I recruit my colleagues?

Recruitment is vital to creating a strong and active branch. The more people are in the union, the stronger we will be, at every level. There are lots of ways of recruiting colleagues. For example, your branch may email them with the union's successes or include union materials in new starters' welcome packs. But the surest way to recruit colleagues and encourage them to play a full part in the union is to talk to them.

Think about who to approach

It's usually best to start with your immediate colleagues, the people you are likely to know best. Draw up a list of who works where to help you plan. If you can get a list of current members, compare it to a list of all staff in your department and think about who to approach first. If you can't get a list of members, just ask the person you approach if they are in the union. People usually aren't offended!

Plan

Once you have worked out who you will approach, do a little preparation. Think about what categories of staff they are and what is likely to concern them. What might they be likely to ask you about? If you don't know the answer to a question they ask you. It is fine to say that you will find out and get back to them. This means you will be able to meet them again and follow up on your first approach. People often ask what the union has done: check with your local branch and on the national website for information on recent successes.

Take along union material

Besides a UCU application form make sure you take examples of local and national materials. You could take, a local newsletter, a UC magazine or information on recent campaigns. You can get copies of UCU application forms and other materials from the website or from your local branch.

Listen

While it's important to talk about our successes, it's also important to be able to explain why the union is relevant to our colleagues. This means listening to what they say. As a rule of thumb, you should ensure that you only talk for 20% of the time and listen for 80% of the time. If they are initially negative towards the union resist the temptation to argue. Acknowledge their points and move the conversation on. After each meeting, make a few short notes as this is an ongoing process and it is useful to know what worked and what didn't.

Last updated: 25 September 2007