Postgraduate members

Cardiff UCU believes that postgraduate students are a key part of our branch and the wider UCU community, and we actively campaign for the rights of postgraduate students.

What we have done over the last few years:

  • Worked with postgraduate members on the campaign for proper employment contracts, which are now implemented;
  • Created a specific PGR Rep role on the branch Executive Committee;
  • Campaigned to change UCU’s rules on student membership so that postgraduate researchers have full membership and can participate at every level of UCU accordingly;
  • Passed motions calling for the continuation of UCU’s PGRs as Staff campaign.

Postgraduate teachers and demonstrators

It has been our priority and longest-running campaign to get contracts for PGRs who teach or demonstrate. We know the damage caused by financial insecurity, the lack of employment rights and unclear processes due to your dual role as both a student and a worker. Having a proper contract of employment is the first step towards being able to collectively bargain for you as workers, and give you some increased job security. However, contracts in themselves do not stop poor working practices and we will continue to fight with you on collective issues such as inconsistency, lack of transparency and workload. Please read the SU’s Know Your Rights page and contact the Cardiff UCU office if you have any problems at work.

UCU membership for postgraduate students

There are two types of membership that students can have: Standard (Free or Paying); and Student. Student members are not entitled to vote in ballots or general meetings, or hold positions on local executive committees – you can read more about this membership type below.

  1. Standard (Free)

    If you are an enrolled PhD student who is also contracted to teach at the higher education institution at which you are registered for your PhD studies, we offer free membership for up one year. Standard Free membership is not designed for existing staff who subsequently register for a PhD where they work.

    2. Standard (paying)

    Free membership only lasts for one year, after which point you will be asked to start paying monthly ‘subs’. These are priced according to income, and many postgraduates are likely to fall into the lowest band and therefore the lowest rate of £1 per month. You can view the rates here: Subscription rates

    3. Student membership: free

    UCU’s ‘student membership’ category is open to students training to teach in post-school education, including PGCE students. If you are a postgraduate student at a university or HE college and are planning a career in higher education (but are not an employed postgraduate student) you are also eligible for student membership. This category of membership is free while you complete your studies.