The Open University branch of the University and College Union
If you are having problems at work, you can talk to one of our trained caseworkers for advice. We can help with all kinds of problems, including (but not restricted to): bullying & harassment, unreasonable workloads, problems with a manager, sickness policy, performance monitoring including CDSA, probation, disability issues, disciplinary cases, grievances, redundancies and severance.
You decide on the level of help you need: you may be just looking for advice before you tackle the problem yourself, or you may want your caseworker to take a more active role, e.g. raising concerns with HR or representing you in a formal hearing. When necessary, our caseworkers can also consult full-time UCU officials for expert and legal advice.
We would always advise you to contact us as soon as you are aware that there is a problem, in many cases early advice and action can prevent the problem getting worse or at the very least strengthen your case. We can talk to you by phone, email or in person.
How to get help: please complete our Casework request form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone our branch administrator. The details you give will help us to link you to a caseworker with the most appropriate experience for your issue. All casework is treated confidentially, and we are careful to match members with caseworkers from a different area of the OU to avoid any conflict of interest.
We have created a document which explains branch casework and provides other sources of support - view document.
Please note – we are not able to give advice to non-members. Once you join we can help with advice and a caseworker, but we are not able to offer legal representation for any issue which begins in the first 3 months of your membership or started before you joined.
telephone: 01908 6(53069)
visit: Room 015, Wilson C Block, Walton Hall campus
If you are concerned about an issue which is also affecting others in your area, you can raise this with your local Rep (go to our Reps/contacts page), who will liaise with the Branch to find the best way of helping you. Alternatively if you don’t think this is an appropriate route for you, you can contact our branch administrator.
We have several Health and Safety reps who take part in the Open University's Health and Safety Committee meetings. The Health and Safety reps are on our Reps/contacts page or there's further information on our Health and Safety page.
If you are just looking for information, there are a number of sources available to you:
The national UCU Support Centre website has answers to frequently raised questions, and news of recent developments in employment law.
All staff in Higher Education can use services provided by the Education Support partnership (formerly called Recourse).
The Open University also offers a number of wellbeing resources to all staff on the HR Intranet (link for OU staff only).