UCU Logo

University and College Union

The Open University branch of the University and College Union

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Membership


Why join UCU?

  • We are the main trade union and professional body for academic and academic-related staff in the UK.
  • We negotiate nationally on pay and working conditions, we advise the government on education policy, and we appoint directors to the USS pension scheme.
  • At a local level, we negotiate with OU management to improve working conditions and resolve collective issues.
  • We support individual members with our trained caseworkers, who can provide advice and represent members in formal hearings.
  • We offer member benefits including discounted insurance and access to legal advice.
  • We offer activist, early career and continuing professional development training courses.
  • and there are more reasons on the reasons to join page.

Our strength is in our numbers, join us and together we are stronger.

Who can join?

All Open University academic and academic-related staff (grade 7 and above) can join, including:

  • 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.  UCU have joint membership arrangements with some of the other Trade Unions and there is information about this on the UCU national website.

Please note if you are on a Secretarial & Clerical contract (grade 6 or below) then you should join UNISON.

How do I join?

If you are new to UCU you can join online at www.ucu.org.uk/join.

If you are already a member of a different branch of UCU before moving your employment to the OU, you can change to the OU branch of UCU on the UCU membership database (My UCU).

If you are already a member of UCU at another university or college and are continuing to work there, you can join the OU branch as your secondary branch for no extra cost by contacting our Branch Administrator on 01908 6(53069) or email ucu@open.ac.uk.

Subscription rates (monthly amounts)

The monthly subscription rates based on your annual salary are as follows and are valid from 1st September 2023 to 31st August 2024. (updated 1 September 2023)

Annual Salary Monthly subs - Great Britain Monthly subs - Northern Ireland
£60,000 and above


£40,000 - £59,999 £29.56 £29.30
£30,000 - £39,999 £25.16 £24.93
£22,000 - £29,999 £19.59 £19.41
£15,000 - £21,999 £12.09 £11.99
£5,000 - £14,999 £4.61 £4.57
below £5,000 £1.00 £0.99

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

You can change your membership type to be "retired" on the UCU eServices website or you can complete the form below.  We prefer members to tick the option to remain part of the OU branch of UCU, rather than to be part of the regional (Eastern and Home Counties) retired members branch.

Retired membership applcation form 2023-2024



Join UCU today

UCU Logo

Join UCU online

Contact information:

Like our Page on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Phone us on 01908 6(53069) or Deb Shann on Skype for Business or Teams

Call into Room 015, Wilson C block, Walton Hall

Email us