Information from UCU Scotland

May 12th, 2020 | By | Category: News

Updated Covid-19 guidance for branches
This updated advice supplements UCU guidance for branches and members in higher, further, adult and prison education produced since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Previous guidance on Covid-19 related risk assessments and control measures remains valid and can be found on the UCU website. The more transmissible Covid-19 variant requires a revision of all previous risk assessments and a tightening of control measures.


Previous Information

Resources and support for tackling gender based violence
A reminder to reps and branches that there are resources and guidance available to support members, negotiate best practice policies, and to ensure a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment, bullying and gender based violence at work:

  • Gender Based Violence support cards and information to signpost staff/students disclosing abuse to appropriate sources of help and support – at this link:
  • UCU’s equality advice and guidance is available at our website along with the specific information on tackling sexual harassment: sexual harassment and guidance on dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • The Equally Safe in Higher Education toolkit is a useful resource to negotiate an institution-wide policy.
  • Branches can seek further support and advice on such issues from

Scottish Government – reporting Health and Safety concerns

A reminder to reps and activists of the Scottish Government inbox where trade unions can report any health and safety or other Covid-19 concerns:

Reporting Covid-19 cases and closures 
Branches are asked to continue reporting Covid-19 cases and closures at their institutions using the following link:

Branch guidance: on-site working
A reminder that UCU branch guidance on returns to on-site working is available and includes:

Template letters which members with different circumstances and/or protected characteristics can use to challenge inadequate risk assessments and unsafe instructions to return to in-person work. The link now includes Scotland specific templates.
Guidance on actions which members and/or branches can take to ensure their safety at work, up to and including: whistleblowing under Section 47B of the Employment Rights Act; use of individual rights under Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act; and escalation to ballots for industrial action.

Navigating change – bargaining guidance for reps
Many branches are facing challenging negotiating situations with their employer, and so a reminder that the Scotland office team is on hand to support negotiations. Where the employer is seeking a collective agreement with the union that changes terms and conditions, please do check in with the Scotland office, and follow the advice provided by the union – particularly on ensuring all members are informed and on board with any agreements made.

Advice on specific issues on health and safety, hazards, and protecting jobs is also available on the website:

The latest UCU branch guidance on negotiating for safe working
Re-opening of campuses – updated UCU guidance
UCU’s five tests and returns to campus
Workplace returns and negotiating guidance
Hazards and controls in HE
Protecting jobs in HE in Scotland from the impact of Covid-19
Fund the future – bargaining note for branches

For further advice and support, please contact UCU’s Scotland office:

Fund the Future – please play your part
UCU members and activists – please play your part by contacting your local politicians to urge them to support higher education. You can generate a letter to your MP on the Fund the Future campaign website, which also includes details of how to contact your MSPs.








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