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University and College Union

The Open University branch of the University and College Union

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Associate Lecturer new contract

The AL Contract Negotiations, a personal recollection

It seems slightly unreal that the new AL contract has come into force now because there were a lot of moments when I didn’t think it would ever happen. UCU first started negotiations on a new contract back in 2008. At that stage the University was negotiating with us on a form of variable hours contract, but as the new economics of HE took shape in 2011 management was increasingly reluctant to guarantee minimum workloads and salaries for ALs and became slightly fixated on the notion of replacing the current profile of the workforce so that remaining ALs worked on larger contracts.

9th August 2022
New AL contract goes live

New Associate Lecturer contract

The Branch is extremely pleased to report that the new Associate Lecturer contract went live on 1st August 2022, after many years of negotiations.

UCU secures biggest decasualisation win in the history of UK higher education. UCU has today hailed a landmark win as the Open University began rolling out a programme of new permanent contracts for 4,800 previously casualised Associate Lecturers, the biggest decasualisation programme ever to take place in the higher education sector.

2nd August 2022
University and College Union - Four Fights and USS disputes

UCU to hold an Autumn ballot

Plans are underway to hold the biggest ever aggregated ballots of the entire Higher Education sector regarding the pay and working conditions dispute (Four Fights) and USS pensions. The industrial action ballot will run during the Autumn.

22nd July 2022

Executive Committee vacancies

The branch has the following vacancies on our Executive Committee, we are inviting members to come forward if they are interested in filling the following positions for which we didn't receive any nominations, in our recent branch election:

  • Central Academic Staff Officer

  • Central Academic-Related Staff Officer

  • Regional/National Academic Staff Officer

  • Regional/National Academic-Related Staff Officer

  • Ordinary members x three places

14th June 2022

Ballot results


The results of the industrial action re-ballot over changes to the USS pension scheme were announced on 12th April. This was a disaggregated ballot which mean results are counted by each employer. 

OU branch of UCU's USS ballot results

All branches USS ballot results page

12th May 2022

Congress and HE Sector Conference motions

Our Branch meeting on 4th March passed three motions for UCU's Congress and HE Sector Conference, the motions are now on our motions page

8th April 2022

An issue with payroll

There has been some confusion in the university over the weekend strike dates. These dates were included for ALs who had scheduled tutorials or other weekend duties so they could participate fully in the action.

31st March 2022

Update on lobbying Senedd

In Wales, the Open University branch of UCU has led representations to Senedd (Welsh Parliament) and found cross-party support on pensions and working conditions.

Two Members of Senedd, Mike Hedges (Labour) and Sioned Williams (Plaid Cymru) co-sponsored the event, having previously attended our lobby on the steps of Senedd two weeks earlier. Also giving strong support were Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds MS and several other Labour and Plaid Cymru Members. The Conservative Shadow Education Minister in Wales, Laura Anne Jones, attended and other ministers registered support.

31st March 2022

Lobbying the Welsh Senedd

We’ve been successfully lobbying the Welsh Senedd. Now we have been invited to present at an indoor event on the 23rd March, to explain our disputes on pensions, pay and conditions and the impact that poor working conditions for university staff will have on students.

21st March 2022

External examiners - resigning in protest

Members of the UCU branch at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUCU) are currently without any pay because their employer is docking 100% of salary for 'partial performance' for Action Short of a Strike - for those lecturers who refuse to reschedule classes that were cancelled during strike action.

18th March 2022

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