What is the UCU?

The University and College Union (UCU) is a trade union that represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.

We are a member-led union that is democratically run and organised.

What does the local UCU branch do at Queen Mary?

Your local branch will represent your interests at your workplace. Each branch has a committee consisting of several officers. See your branch committee list here. The main positions are the chair, secretary, treasurer, communications officer and representatives for ordinary members as well as several protected groups.

While a lot of UCU’s struggles are negotiated on the national level (e.g. pension justice, casualisation), there are specific problems happening on the institutional level which require local negotiations with the QMUL management. At Queen Mary, we are facing institutional racism, the non-renewal of fixed-term contracts and a hiring freeze as well as increasing workloads. All of these issues have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 outbreak. Now, we are also endangered by unsafe working conditions as the management has not quaranteed a safe return to campus.

On all of these issues, your local branch will negotiate with your employer. By using the power of the collective, we can make our voice heard and fight for better working conditions at QMUL.

Who can join UCU?

The national UCU rules state that anyone who works as an academic, lecturer, trainer, instructor, researcher, administrator, manager, computer staff, librarian or postgraduate in a UK university, college, prison, adult education or training organisation can join UCU.

This also means that UCU membership is open to postgraduate students. There are two membership options available and both are free. The first is the UCU’s ‘student membership’. This is open to students training to teach in post-school education. If you are a postgraduate student at a university or HE college and are planning a career in higher education you are also eligible for the student membership. The second type is for employed postgraduates who are providing or supporting education, training or research. This membership is free for up to four years.

You can join UCU here