About the Unions at GCU

The majority of staff are in unions at GCU, and this blog is their – your – voice.  We are not just an ‘insurance policy’ we are a community. Our mandate is to help get the best conditions for our members at GCU – and every campus or hub the university may be involved in.

But we are also about more than that – we are working to ensure the best possible education for our students. We are determined to protect the interests of Scottish education in the face of the challenges facing it – be it short sighted cuts, misguided university  strategy, management speak or governments downgrading the importance of higher and further education in the Scottish economy. We are all united in our determination to improve the democratic governance of universities and you can read about our views on this elsewhere on the blog.

We have close relationships with the Students Association at GCU – we meet periodically with the elected officers – and with the National Union of Students at a Scottish level.

We hope this blog will be where you will get the facts about working at GCU and can make your voice heard. Please bookmark the web site – It’s your voice!

How the unions work for you at Glasgow Caledonian

There are four unions that negotiate regularly with management at GCU  – the EIS, UCU, Unison and Unite. GMB is also recognised at the university. Individual unions’ websites will tell you which is the most appropriate union for yourself if you have not joined a union yet.

It is a normal thing for members of staff to be in a union. It does not threaten your job – in lots of ways it helps integrate you into the life of the university. Despite differences which may (and will) arise between unions and management – and which are understandable, and part of the democratic process –  the university acknowledges the role played by unions  for  a healthy university community. We are officially invited to speak to new starts at induction and our details are advertised on the GCUYou portal.

There are regular meetings between the unions and the management of the university through the Joint Consultation Committee and its themed groups which meet to discuss areas in detail, and then report back to the JCC.

The JCC meetings (which take place at least once per trimester) normally consist of a representative of each of the four main unions; representatives of HR – normally head of HR, Alex Killick and another colleague; the secretary of the University – Jan Hulme; a representative of senior management – currently this is James Miller, Vice-Chancellor of the University; the university Finance Officer, Gerry Milne; and other representative of senior management or of the university who may be presenting papers or initiating reports. The chairing of the JCC alternates yearly between management and the unions. Currently the position is held by Davena Rankin, local president of  Unison on behalf of the union side.

Between meetings of the JCC, the unions meet together to discuss issues in the ‘Combined Union Committee’ (CUC), whose convenor is Nick McKerrell, local president of the EIS.

Much of the day to day work of the unions however, takes place place outwith these structures, when union reps (each union has reps – often based at school or departmental level) give advice to members or take up ‘personal cases’ on members behalf, with local management, senior management or HR. Some unions also members who specialise in various areas such as Health and Safety Officers, or Equality Officers.

To contact the editor of this blog (the blog is jointly administered on behalf of the community of unions at GCU), e-mail us anytime at: caledonianunion@gmail.com

We’re also on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caledonianunion/

You’ll also find us on Facebook here (log on to Facebook and search for caledonianunion ).

We do intend to make this Facebook page more active in future!

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