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It's your time - UCU workload campaign 2018

Workload campaign

4 October 2012

Staff across post-16 education are experiencing excessive workloads, long working hours and intensification of work that is causing significant stress and ill-health. The increasing administrative burden, the widening of job roles, the introduction of new IT and online working, increased student numbers and staff cuts are a growing problem.

UCU Workload Conference 2024: presentations and resources (login required).

Analysis by UCU has revealed that staff in the UK's colleges and universities are doing the equivalent of at least two days unpaid work every week. The UCU report lays bare the extent of the workload crisis gripping post-16 education: read on our research more here

UCU workload survey 2021: data report [2mb]

In response UCU developed a new approach to tackle workload issues using a campaigning and organising approach linked with health and safety which was successfully piloted in 2016/17. Following the significant changes that have taken place across workplaces since the covid-19 pandemic, UCU is now re-launching this workload campaign across the UK with new tools and refreshed approaches.

UCU workload campaigning also uses the results of national and local workload surveys to support branches with local campaigning, organising and bargaining. UCU developed a longitudinal national workload survey which has run in 2016 and 2021. Some key finding from 2021 reveal that staff in higher and further education work on average more than two days unpaid each week and workload is unmanageable and unsustainable for most staff.

UCU members can also access 'workload rep' training which is available to all those who want to get more involved in tackling the causes of excessive workloads and work-related stress in their place of work. In addition UCU will be running a CPD course for members who wish to better understand workload as a health and safety issue and how best to protect ourselves and colleagues from unsustainable and unhealthy workload demands.

It's your time: branch toolkit It's your time - workload campaign poster

It's your time: UCU workload campaign overview [196kb]

It's your time: legal rights and employer duties [119kb]

It's your time: flowchart illustrating the UCU workload campaign [23kb]

It's your time: checklist 1 - the branch workload team [161kb]

It's your time: checklist 2 - structures [162kb]

It's your time: joint working groups [86kb]

It’s your time: workload inspections [106kb]

It’s your time: inspection notice – employer [50kb]

It’s your time: inspection notice – workers [65kb]

Workload inspection report templates [610kb]

It's your time: inspection report example [106kb]

Health & safety rep functions [278kb]
Health & safety rep functions [142kb]

If you wish to run UCU's local workload survey in your branch as part of this campaign please contact UCU at for more information.

Campaign materials Stress poster slideshow

It's your time - workload campaign leaflet [249kb]

It's your time - workload campaign poster [313kb]

Excessive workloads poster [42kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - pressure gauge [369kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - head in hand [813kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - blood pressure [126kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - pile of papers [215kb]

'Workplace stress' poster - with doctor [119kb]

Workload reps training

Check here for UCU It's your time: Workload rep training 1 - 'Introduction to the workload campaign and the role of the workload rep'

Check here for UCU It's your time: Workload rep training 2 - 'Workload campaign in action: undertaking workload inspections and investigations'

For more information about the workload campaign and the role of the workload rep please contact

Using organisation level stress risk assessments to control excessive workloads

Stress toolkit resources available here.

The toolkit follows the HSE stress management standards approach and includes guidance on stress risk assessments and a model stress risk assessment for use by branches.

Build UCU: organising and campaigning resources

These are designed to help you, our branch officers and representatives, to build our union at branch and local association level.

UCU is a democratic organisation reliant to a large degree on the large-scale participation of its volunteer members. How effective we are as an industrial force and professional body, protecting our members, depends on how well our participatory structures work.

Find out how to build power in organisations for effective bargaining here: Build The Union

Additional materials on how to run an effective campaign is available here: Guide to local campaigning

Local bargaining resources

UCU has produced detailed guidance to assist branches and local associations in negotiations at local level which includes bargaining for better workloads here: Bargaining Guidance Library.

Case studies and good practice examples

University of Liverpool code of practice on stress in the workplace [499kb]

Sussex Coast College workload working group terms of reference [18kb]

Health and safety resources

Visit the Health and safety resource centre for useful information and resources covering many aspects of workplace health and safety.

Last updated: 17 May 2024