A message from the President about USS
14 Mar 2018
Update on the USS pension scheme and industrial action
On Monday, 12 March, ACAS talks on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) concluded with Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU) agreeing to a revised benefit reform proposal (subject to consultation by both parties and subsequent agreement at the USS Joint Negotiating committee (JNC)). The position agreed at ACAS included significant further contributions to the scheme in order to respond to the request for a meaningful level of defined benefit provision.
The following day UCU sent to its members the message: ‘The union’s HE committee today agreed to reject the proposals that arose from UCU’s discussion with the employers at ACAS. This followed a very well attended meeting of representatives from USS branches.’
Many will share my disappointment that UCU’s HE committee rejected the proposal that UCU agreed with UUK at ACAS. UCU have also indicated that they will now not attend the JNC meeting which was scheduled for later today and have confirmed that they are making detailed preparations for a further 14 days of industrial action in the assessment and examination season.
I am particularly worried about our students, who are expressing their concerns to me, especially with potential industrial action during their exam period. We have given them assurances that all of those who are eligible will progress and graduate as planned.
We have also clearly indicated that the University will not gain from any pay deductions due to industrial action, and that funds recovered will be used for the benefit of students.
Pay deductions for those who have declared that they have taken industrial action will be linked to payroll deadlines in March, April and May.
Just over 500 of our staff have declared that they have been taking industrial action on each day of the dispute out of a total of 6,300 USS members at the University.
I understand what a difficult choice staff are facing as they do not want to disadvantage our students but also feel strongly about the proposed changes to their pension. I acknowledge the many who are taking the decision to continue to work in the interests of their students.
All parties need to work to resolve what is an extremely difficult situation for all of our University community and the sector as a whole.