Heriot-Watt UCU Rotating Header Image


HWUCU report on working under lockdown and employee-driven responses to such practices

HWUCU recently commissioned a short survey to capture experiences of working under lockdown (e.g. working hours, working conditions, workload, communications, well-being, voice, collegiality and equality) and employee views of how the University and HWUCU should respond to reflect employee interests at such a difficult and unprecedented times.

The report suggests about two-thirds of employees are on the whole satisfied with their early experiences of working under lockdown.

Collegiality is rated the highest by staff and communications from the University ranks the least.

However, approximately one-third of experiences are at least unsatisfactory, but when broken down further it is apparent how there is greater unsatisfactory experiences for women, disabled and casualised staff.

A wide-range of strategies for both the University and HWUCU are considered.

  • Key recommendations for University practice include more meaningful acknowledgement and steps taken to address staff concerns related to pressures to work as before lockdown, remote working and work-life balance.
  • Key recommendations for UCU, aside from working with the University on such matters, is to improve and be more inclusive with communications with members and adopting in such communications a broader acknowledgement of the problems currently faced by members.

The findings and recommendations are likely to be of value for other UK universities/UCU branches and some value for organisations who currently have large numbers of highly skilled employees working from home at short notice.

The full report can be accessed here.

Academic Freedom Survey

Dear colleague,

UCU’s education committee is undertaking research into the current status of, and protection for, academic freedom in UK higher education, with a view to making a report to the UCU congress in 2017.

We are working with Professor Terence Karran (University of Lincoln) on this issue, including a survey of members’ personal experience regarding the protection of academic freedom.

Your views are crucial to the union’s ongoing work on improving the protection for academic freedom. So, please help us by filling in the short survey here.

Thank you.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary



TUC Racism at Work survey

The TUC is launching an online survey to expose the everyday reality of racism faced by many Black workers.  This is the first time that a survey of this kind has been carried out across the trade union movement and we want to get a large response.

The trade union movement is committed to eradicating racism in the workplace. However, for many workers experiencing racism at work is part of their everyday life. This may take the form of racial harassment from a manager, colleague, customer, or client and can result in being denied access to promotion or training.

We are asking non-unionised as well as unionised workers to complete the survey. The information provided will be treated in confidence and the survey can be completed anonymously.

We are also keen to hear from anyone who has witnessed any form of racial harassment or discrimination.

If you have any questions please contact Wilf Sullivan wsullivan@tuc.org.uk  or Natasha Owusu nowusu@tuc.org.uk

Thank you for your support.

UCU Survey on Performance-Related Pay

Dear colleague,

Performance-related pay and reward practices linked to performance management are issues of increasing concern to UCU members. Over the past few years, it seems that higher and further education institutions across the UK have been changing their performance management and reward practices. UCU has commissioned Dr Monica Franco-Santos from Cranfield University, to survey all members on the performance management and reward practices currently in existence across all higher and further education institutions in the UK.

Could you please participate in the survey by following this link.

The survey can be completed by any member of staff so please pass this information on to your colleagues. It will take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey will close on Tuesday 24 May 2016.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and participation. Please email performancepay@ucu.org.uk if you have any questions/comments in relation to the survey.

For UCU information and advice about performance-related pay please visit the UCU website here.


Michael MacNeil
UCU national head of bargaining & negotiations

Higher education (HE) pay campaign

UCU is consulting members in universities on the campaign to secure a decent pay deal and you will have received an email (subject line “UCU higher education pay campaign consultation”) inviting you to take part in a very short survey. Please email ebailey@ucu.org.uk if you work in HE and have not yet received this.

Compare your salary to your VC’s and to staff in other institutions using the new Rate for the Job webtool.

Details of latest developments including our claim and campaign materials here.

It’s time to talk about workloads

Tackling excessive workloads is a priority for the union and over 7,400 members have now responded to UCU’s in depth workload survey. To take part click here.

UCU Legal Scheme – your views please

Dear colleague

An important part of UCU membership is the union’s legal scheme which provides a wide range of legal services and advice delivered by our team of professional lawyers.

I would like to hear your views on the union’s provision of legal advice and assistance and invite you to spend a few minutes completing this survey which will be used to develop and improve the scheme.

Please click here and complete the short survey.

The survey will close 12 noon Friday 8 January 2016.

Many thanks for your time and for providing this valuable feedback.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

Education Investment Survey – win £250

UCU and NUS are gathering opinions on how and where the place where you work or study makes investments – from how research is funded to the investments made through pension schemes. Please complete the short survey by 7 December and you stand a chance of winning £250 prize draw (ten runners up will also receive £50).



Short-term contracts and their impact on research

Are you or have you ever been a researcher in higher education? UCU has launched a new survey to gather evidence on the impact of short-term funding on the production of research. If you are or have ever been a researcher, please help us by filling in this survey. The survey is open to all involved in research, so when you’ve completed it, make sure to pass it on to other researchers, along with this link to join UCU, the union fighting for better research careers.

Stamp out casual contracts campaign

A report this week announced that more than two-fifths of university and college staff on casual contracts struggle to pay the bills. Read more on the union’s campaign against casualised employment and on some of the progress we’ve made here