UCU has put equality at the heart of its activities on behalf of its members.
Some UCU branches/local associations (LAs) have equality officers who can assist you if you have any concerns on an equality-related issue. Otherwise your UCU departmental rep or other branch/LA officer will be able to help. To find out if there is an equality officer at your branch and how to contact them ask your departmental rep or branch/LA secretary/president. If you don't know how to contact any local UCU representative contact your regional office. The local contact finder will tell you the relevant regional office for your institution.
On this page:
UCU has a national team of staff with expertise and involvement in the whole equality agenda. They implement the policies and priorities determined by members through the democratic lay structures'.
- Helen Carr - National head of equality
- Seth Atkin - Equality support official with specialism for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality and age equality
- Charlotte Nielsen - Equality support official with specialism for gender
- Chris Nicholas - Equality support official with specialism for race and religion or belief
- Sharon Russell - Equality officer
- Swati Patel - Administrator
If you have a general equality query, or to join one of our equality network mailing lists (LGBT, disabled members, women & black members) contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think you might be interested in becoming a UCU equality officer you can find out more about what is involved on the Equality reps page.
Enabling not disabling
'Enabling not disabling' is designed as a guide to UCU branches and local associations on the rights of UCU's disabled members. This guide has been updated in November 2015 and includes legislation from Equality Act 2010:
Latest information from TUC on migration
Working in the UK
The TUC have produced guidance on working in the UK and rights at work. The rights depend on the type of worker you are. The TUC resource will guide you to establish the category of worker to find out what rights apply. For further information visit: www.tuc.org.uk/workingintheuk
Migration Messaging Project
The TUC developed the Migration Messaging Project with Hope not Hate and Migrant Voice as a way to promote - and test the effectiveness - of progressive messages which shift the blame for workplace and social problems away from migrants and onto bad employers and lack of investment in services and welfare. This booklet provides case studies of the activities that took place in Corby, Manchester and Southampton over the course of the Migration Messaging Project to promote these messages: Connecting communities, building alliances: Migration Messaging Project (.pdf)
The impact of UK immigration policies on students and staff in further and higher education
UCU Equality Unit has produced this report to highlight the positive impact of immigration on the post-16 education sector and to demonstrate how the Government's points-based immigration system is damaging the international reputation of our education system.
International Women's Day
To celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March, UCU has produced a film entitled 'A woman's place is in the union' to raise awareness and to encourage UCU women to play an active role within the union at local as well as national level. The film is accompanied by a postcard [123kb] (opens in a new window) which can be ordered from: email@example.com
Disabled workers and students in education
A TUC report published in March 2015, Disabled Workers and Students in Education, says that reforms have reversed progress being made towards an educational system that welcomes and respects disabled staff.
The report looks first at the experience of disabled teaching staff in the UK and then at the effects of various changes to the SEND system. Responses from trade union surveys illustrate the points raised by the report. Read more on the TUC website here or click here to download the report (.docx).
New guidebook on the social model of disability
The TUC has published a new guidebook on the social model of disability to help unions and their members improve equality for disabled people within unions and in the workplace. You can download the 13 page guide here (pdf).
In addition, Peter Purton, Equality Rights Policy Officer at the TUC has written a blog summarising the reasons for using the social model of disability. You can read his blog here.
Two new reports produced by TUC around the issue of gender inequality
A report by TUC and Women's Aid exposes the concealed despair of women trapped in financially abusive relationships. In many cases women are left trapped in poverty without access to money for essentials, emergencies or for their children. Click here to download the TUC/Women's Aid report (pdf).
A second report was prepared for the TUC Women's Conference 2015. It looks at how women have fared through recession and austerity. The report finds that while some progress on some headline measures of gender equality has continued, the employment and pay gap have continued to narrow. Some women are facing new hardships and barriers to equality: click here to download the TUC Women's Conference report (pdf).
Maternity rights for fixed-term contracts and casually employed staff
This guide briefly outlines maternity rights on fixed-term and casual contracts.
Shared parental leave guidance spring 2015
There are advice leaflets for members on various types of discrimination, bullying and harassment in the getting support section of this website.
Resources and guidance for UCU equality officers and activists can be found at Campaigning for equality.
If you have a general equality query, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
UCU has negotiated national equality agreements in both HE and FE (see pay and conditions section) which branches/LAs strive to get implemented locally. The national equality unit (see above) supports branches/LAs and regional offices on equality issues and work to influence government policy on equality.
We live in a period of rapidly changing equality legislation. News on recent developments is to be found in the bi-monthly Equality News and the monthly electronic newsletter Equality Extra. Also see below for the latest UCU equality publications or visit our UCU publications for a full list.
The union provides many opportunities for members to become involved in our equality work. UCU organises events specifically for black, disabled, LGBT and women members. We also have email lists for each of these groups which you can join by emailing email@example.com.
Helping out at a local level is a great way to promote equality at your workplace - you don't necessarily need to become an equality officer, just an offer to circulate newsletters or put up posters for example will be appreciated. See How do I get involved? for more information. If you do think you might be interested in becoming a UCU equality officer you can find out more about what is involved on the Equality reps page.
UCU policy on equality is determined democratically by our members,
- through reserved seats on the national executive committee
- an elected equality committee
- and yearly conferences.
UCU has also developed policies and negotiated agreements on age and religion or belief.
While our prime concern is to fight for greater equality at work, we also strive to campaign against injustices members face in other areas of their lives, whether on grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or belief, age or any other aspect of identity which can lead to discrimination.
If you are experiencing discrimination or harassment at work see the Equality advice and guidance for advice on getting support.
UCU rules ensure that women, LGBT, disabled and black members have representation within the union's democratic structures. As well as a minimum of nine reserved seats on the national executive committee (NEC), the executive comprises a number of sub-committees including an equality committee.
There are a minimum number of NEC seats that must be filled by women. The total number of seats a geographical constituency has on the NEC depends on its size, but of these at least one quarter to one third must be filled by women. This quota also applies to the UK-elected HE and FE seats. Of the nine equality seats on the NEC elected directly by all members, three of these seats are for representatives of women in HE, and two for women in FE.
A Women members' annual conference is held every year. This conference elects a women members' committee (WMC). The WMC can send one motion and one amendment to the annual national congress, and to the sector conferences.
Women's email list
The equality unit operates a women's email list to keep you in touch with relevant events and information which any female UCU member can join - just contact the equality unit on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the list.
There are eleven equality seats on the NEC, two of which are for representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, one from further education and one from higher education.
A conference for LGBT members is held every year: LGBT members' annual conference. This conference elects an LGBT members' committee (LGBTMC). The LGBTMC can send two motions and two amendments to the annual national congress, and to the sector conferences.
LGBT members' email list
As well as these formal structures the equality unit operates a LGBT members' email list to keep you in touch with relevant events and information which any UCU member can join - just contact the equality unit on email@example.com and ask to be added to the list.
Of the nine equality seats on the NEC, two for representatives of black members, one of which must be a woman.
A conference for black members is held every year. This conference elects a black members' committee (BMC). The BMC can send two motion and two amendments to the annual national congress, and to both of the sector conferences.
Black members' email list
As well as these formal structures the equality unit operates a black members' email list to keep you in touch with relevant events and information which any black UCU member can join - just contact the equality unit at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the list.
Of the nine equality seats on the NEC, one of these is for a representative of disabled members.
A conference for disabled members is held every year. This conference elects a disabled members' committee (DMC). The DMC can send one motion and one amendment to the annual national congress, and to the sector conferences.
Disabled members' email list
The equality unit operates a disabled members' email list to help keep you in touch with relevant events and information which any disabled UCU member can join - just contact the equality unit on email@example.com and ask to be added to the list.