Communication ideas from Northern Ireland

25 January 2017


Throughout recruitment week, in the Northern Ireland region, we set up stalls in several of the FE colleges so both members and non-members could come speak to us, and find out about the union.  We spoke to numerous people throughout the course of the day and distributed literature which raised the profile of the union by making UCU more visible.  It was a successful week indeed.  This picture shows one of our reps in the SERC Bangor campus, Irwin Pryce, at the recruitment stall.

Belfast Met

Belfast Met stress poster

Belfast Met stress leaflet

The branch at Belfast Met set up and launched an online survey to all staff members in Belfast Met. This was also publicised with the creation of posters and leaflets for distribution throughout the college.

This was a way of engaging with members in the college, and making UCU more visible to non-members, hopefully encouraging them to join.

Survey results will be raised with HR and publicised in due course.

Newsletters were sent out to all UCU members at Belfast Met. These newsletters were also printed and sent to the branch for distribution throughout the campuses:

By sending these written materials, members within the college were made aware of what UCU is currently involved in, and also made UCU more visible to both members and non-members, hopefully encouraging non-members to join.


As part of UCU's National Recruitment Week, I was out and about visiting both members and non-members in their offices. This door-knocking technique had many positive outcomes, not less the conversations I had with several different members of staff. Members were very pleased to see us and it highlighted how effective the one-to-one approach can be.

We visited the School of Education, where we met a number of research staff who are on fixed term contracts for the Queen's University of Belfast. One of the staff members highlighted how he felt he deserved better treatment, and how insecure the Research staff felt their employment with the university to be - he stated that he was glad he had previously secured his mortgage in his last job as he knew he wouldn't manage to get one if he was to apply for one now. He was not currently a UCU member.

After listening to the potential member's concerns, we briefly highlighted the fact that UCU believes in high quality education and has been campaigning for years to ensure that colleges and universities maximise full-time or fractional contracts for all.  We stated that fair working conditions depend on contracts that give staff stability and continuity of employment - that casualisation is bad for staff and bad for education, yet it's endemic in our colleges and universities.

I took the names and e-mail addresses of the potential members and said I would forward information on UCU's campaigns for secure employment, requesting a permanent contract, and the Researchers' Survival Guide. I did this when I was back into the office - as well as sending the potential members a UCU joining link.  The outcome was very positive - I received a thank you e-mail from the potential member, and we succeeded in gaining 6 new members at QUB!!

Lauren McCullough
Regional Administrator & Branch Development Organiser, Northern Ireland UCU

Last updated: 23 January 2018