At the Royal College of Art, UCU is the recognised trade union for collective bargaining in respect of academic, academic related and research staff, including Visiting Lecturers. We are responsible for negotiation, consultation and communication with the College on matters including employment practices, industrial relations, fairness and equality. We are committed to representing the interests of members, and the staff groups they represent, both collectively and individually.
RCA UCU is an active, campaigning and members-led branch, bringing together academic and academic related staff from across the diverse tiers, contract-types, schools, sites and departments of the College. In Spring 2020, our members balloted overwhelmingly for and took part in industrial action as part of the ongoing national Four Fights dispute, gaining coverage along with Art Schools from across London, including in The Art Newspaper, Frieze and Artforum.
Having secured a recognition agreement in September 2020 our branch committee (see below) were elected with commitments to fight for the advances we have been promised on matters of equalities, anti-casualisation and Health & Safety, as well as workload allocation issues which are brought to the fore in relation to Covid-19. The RCA UCU branch supports the #CoronaContract campaign, calling for 2 years secure employment for all casualised university workers, endorsed by UCU’s HEC.
Beyond the protections of UCU membership as a branch member you will be invited to regular meetings, special events, and, of course, have a vote in both local and national UCU elections. We run regular drop-in sessions by department and School. We send regular newsletters and updates to keep all members up to date on RCA UCU activities.
UCU is the largest post-school union in the world: covering universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and other post-16 training providers with membership spanning academics, lecturers, teachers, trainers, instructors, researchers, administrators, managers, computer staff, librarians, postgraduate teaching assistants and other education professionals.
As the past year has made abundantly clear, there has never been a better time to join a union. Across the Higher Education sector, staff numbers drop as student numbers rise – often with no matching increase in funding – and comes with an increased reliance on casualised academic work. For too many, salaries are simply failing to keep pace with those of comparable staff elsewhere in education. Being in a union helps to ensure your pay and conditions are protected and improved, and that you are treated with respect in the workplace.
Membership rates are dependent upon income band and start from as little as 99p pence per month, with free membership now also available for postgraduate students.For more information on membership and to join UCU please visit www.ucu.org.uk/join.