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Join UCU

Providing you with services
Membership of the OU branch of UCU, which goes hand in hand with membership of UCU nationally, brings you access to the services provided by the union locally as well as through its national organisation. This includes the help of local officers and representatives, that of UCU’s regional and national trade union professionals, and where appropriate access to full professional legal assistance through UCU’s legal scheme.

The Open University branch of UCU meets on a regular basis with representatives of the university (via the Joint Negotiating Committee, or JNC), and also has frequent ad hoc discussions with the university over a wide range of matters affecting staff in academic and academic-related grades. OU branch of UCU caseworkers spend a good deal of time and energy in assisting members who have encountered difficulties in their individual employment situations (known as casework), and we have a good record of success in helping such members to reach a satisfactory resolution of the problems.

The National picture
Nationally, UCU is the principal union for academic and academic-related staff in Higher and Further Education in the UK. It deals with the university employers’ bodies as well as with the government over all matters concerning employment and professional issues in UK institutions. It keeps a close eye on matters affecting pension arrangements for university staff, and appoints three of the directors of USS as well as three members of its advisory committee.

As an academic, academic-related, research or Associate Lecturer member of the Open University YOU need OUBUCU and OUBUCU needs YOU! Join now. You will find further information about membership under the “Join UCU” on the left hand side of the page, or click on the photo link on the right.

Why join?

Being an UCU member gives you a huge range of benefits, including:

Visit the UCU website for more information or there is a member benefits section.

Who can join?

The UCU represents a wide range of staff at all stages of their careers in the UK's higher education and research establishments. All academic and academic-related staff at the Open University are eligible to join. Those members of staff catered for include:

  • academics
  • researchers
  • academic-related staff
  • associate lecturers (ALs)
  • postgraduates employed to do teaching or related work.

Eligibility is not dependent on type of contract; we represent permanent, full-time, fixed-term, part-time, and hourly-paid staff.

Associate Lecturers at the OU are particularly welcomed. If you are already a member of UCU at another university or college, then you can join the OU branch as your secondary branch for no extra cost, please contact our Branch Administrator on 01908 653069 or

Please note if you are on a Secretarial & Clerical contract then you should join UNISON - see

How do I join?

From September 2015 new members can only join via the website as paper application forms have been phased out.

You can join online at or join by phone on 0333 207 0719

Full details can be found on the Join UCU page.

Subscription rates (monthly amounts)

The new monthly subscription rates based on your annual salary are as follows and are valid until 31 August 2017.

Annual SalaryMonthly subs including local sub (GB)Monthly subs in Northern Ireland including local sub
60,000 and above28.2327.99
40,000 - 59,99925.6225.41
30,000 - 39,99922.6622.46
20,000 - 29,99920.5520.37
10,000 - 19,99912.8012.69
5,000 - 9,9995.125.07
below 5,0001.011
For members in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland), national subscription rates include a contribution, equivalent to 1% of the relevant subscription, to UCU's Political Fund. This is used to finance a variety of campaigning activities including parliamentary and similar lobbying. The Political Fund is used for "non-party political" activities.

If you work in Northern Ireland the law requires that no political fund contribution is included unless you complete a contracting-in notice. If you decide not to contract-in your monthly subscription rate will be as shown in the table above.

Retired membership
We prefer members to tick the option to remain part of the OU branch, rather than to be part of the national retired group, but that is your choice.

UCU retired membership application form 2017