Surrey University College Union (UCU) is a branch of one of three trade unions formally recognised at University of Surrey, and as a higher education union, part of our remit is to represent postgraduate researchers who not only are conducting valuable research but may be additionally employed to undertake teaching duties or other work for the University. You can find our latest Branch newsletters here and our lively twitter account @ucusurrey. We are an inclusive, friendly Branch made up of local staff and researcher members like you.
Most importantly, for full time postgraduate researchers it costs nothing to join us!
As part of UCU’s drive to support those working in higher education at the start of their careers the union offers free membership to full time PhD researchers. Part time PhD researchers and those who are research staff within their institution are not eligible though they are able to join for a fee. The free membership package is available for up to four years with full benefit rights, to enable Postgraduates to start their careers without having to pay union subscriptions.
UCU recognises that an increasing proportion of research, teaching and related work is being undertaken by PhD researchers and is therefore making a substantial, long term investment in the future of the profession. In addition, the union recognises that there are problems such as widespread casualisation and other unfair working practices in all grades. UCU’s ‘future of the profession’ plan has three aims:
- promote the creation of good jobs and rewarding careers for staff throughout the sector, and particularly those at the start of their careers
- negotiate local agreements which improve the conditions of ‘low security’ staff
- provide advice, support and training to staff, and especially early career staff on how to build their careers.
UCU also provides free continuing professional development (CPD) courses and other material. Please find relevant information and resources here, in addition to launching focused national campaigns, for example, please find:
– the joint UCU and NUS Postgraduate employment charter here
– the UCU recent campaign launch and webinar ‘PGRs as staff, not students‘ here
Joining online only takes a few minutes via our national website: https://www.ucu.org.uk/join.
Please ensure that you indicate you are based at the “Surrey, University of” as your location so that you will be able to join the Surrey UCU branch.
Don’t forget to find us (and follow us) on twitter @UCUSurrey!