FAQ’s about UCU

FAQ’s
FAQ’s About SUCU
Joining UCU FAQsQuestioned frequently asked about joining UCU. 

 


Q: Who can join UCU?
Q: Can hourly paid or part-time staff join UCU?
Q: How does UCU work for its members?
Q: Won’t I get lost in a big union?
Q: How much does it cost to be a UCU member?
Q: How does UCU influence education policy
Q: Will I have access to legal advice?
Q: What other support can I expect?
Q: Can I be a member of more than one union?
Q: Do you represent MRC, NIBSC or Imanet staff?
Q: How can UCU help and support me as a health educator?
Q: I’ve been a member of the RCN since I was a student nurse – why should I join UCU too?
Q: Can you post me a UCU application form?
Q: Can UCU help me develop my career?
Q: Can I still join if I’m retired? Or can I carry on my membership post-retirement?

 

Q: Who can join UCU?
A: Our rules entitle 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 to join UCU. However UCU as a member of the Trade Union Congress does not actively seek to recruit staff in a grade or job group for which we have no formal representational rights and for which another trade union is recognised by the employer.

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Q: Can hourly paid or part-time staff join UCU?
A: Membership of UCU is not determined by the number of hours you work or the type of contract you have: many of our members work on a part-time or hourly-paid basis. We make allowances in our national subscription rates for any member whose salary is likely to be lower than their national full-time colleagues.

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Q: How does UCU work for its members?
A: People who work in post-school education have never been under so much pressure. Staff numbers drop as student numbers rise – often with no matching increase in funding. For many people, salaries are simply failing to keep pace with those of comparable staff elsewhere in education. And as most people spend the majority of their lives at work, it pays to be in a union that ensures your pay and conditions are protected and improved, and that you are treated with respect in the workplace.

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Q: Won’t I get lost in a big union?
A: In UCU everyone counts, wherever they work. UCU is committed to campaigning for real equality of opportunity for all staff working in higher, further and adult education.

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Q: How much does it cost to be a UCU member?
A: UCU membership can cost as little as £2.23 per month depending on your earnings.

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Q: How does UCU influence education policy
A: UCU speaks for the practitioners, so we can be a serious voice when decisions are made about education policy and the broader political agenda. We argue against the increasing teaching and administrative burdens being placed on our members and for fairer funding, more democratic governance and academic freedom.

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Q: Will I have access to legal advice?
A: Trade unions win millions of pounds in compensation for their members every year. UCU works with specialist employment lawyers to ensure members have access to professional legal advice; that’s in addition to the representation and skills available from UCU’s trained local representatives.

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Q: What other support can I expect?
A: College and University Support Network (CUSN) CUSN is a new UK-wide charity providing free support services specifically for all staff working in further and higher education. Part of the Teacher Support Network and supported by UCU, CUSN complements the work of the union offering information and advice, telephone counselling, online coaching and financial assistance.

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Q: Can I be a member of more than one union?
A: Post-school education employs a wide range of diverse specialist staff. That is why UCU has joint membership agreements with unions that represent a variety of health professionals, as well as broadcasters and journalists. These are designed to offer all the benefits of belonging to two unions but for less than the cost of the combined full subscription rates. This is especially useful when your career is not just in higher education.

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Q: Do you represent MRC, NIBSC or Imanet staff?
A: UCU has been representing Medical Research Council non-clinical scientists for around 25 years

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Q: How can UCU help and support me as a health educator?
A: As a member of UCU you will be backed by the professional expertise of the largest union for lecturers in Britain. We are the only union recognised by the higher education employers to represent the interests of health educators at national level.

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Q: I’ve been a member of the RCN since I was a student nurse – why should I join UCU too?
A: The Royal College of Nursing – and the other health staff professional associations – is the appropriate body to represent your interests as a health professional. But if you are working in higher education, you will need the additional protection of the main union representing your interests as an academic. Most importantly, UCU is the only union with national collective bargaining rights for health educators.

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Q: Can you post me a UCU application form?
A: Yes we can.

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Q: Can UCU help me develop my career?
A: We offer conferences on topical issues such as online learning, governance and the globalisation of the profession. We strive for fair and transparent promotion procedures. We have a network of union learning representatives pressing for better staff development. And UCU members can subscribe to the leading quarterly, Journal of Further & Higher Education, at one-third of the published price.

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Q: Can I still join if I’m retired? Or can I carry on my membership post-retirement?

A:You can keep in touch with national and local UCU by continuing to receive the UC magazine and other publications; retain the discounts on benefits and services negotiated for UCU members.  You may actually have time to make better use of some of them; maintain contact with UCU’s experienced advice on superannuation matters. You can continue in membership of your present branch/local association or join the UCU central group (please see note 2 of the application form about the central group).

Retired membership is open to any member of UCU retiring at the minimum age limit and to any member who shall have so retired at an earlier age under the Premature Retirement Scheme, or on account of permanent disablement under ill-health provisions. 

 In order to retain full membership entitlements, particularly in connection with their employment, members of staff who are taking early retirement but continuing in part-time university or college employment are advised to continue in full membership (at a reduced subscription rate, if appropriate).

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