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A message from the President about the industrial dispute and USS

02 Mar 2018

An update from the President on the current industrial action and the University's position

University of Manchester

Dear Colleagues

With talks scheduled for early next week between Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU) mediated by ACAS, I - like many of you – hope that these result in an end to the current industrial dispute, and a solution that provides a secure, attractive and affordable pension for members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).  

If we are to continue to retain and recruit highly valued, quality staff we must be able to offer a competitive benefits package which includes an attractive pension. 

I fully understand the anxiety and concerns expressed about the current proposed changes to the USS pension scheme, and I share many of these. 

I am personally encouraging the negotiators to seek common ground and to find an alternative solution that is viable and affordable.

As a University we would be prepared to consider an increase to the already very significant employers’ contribution as part of an agreed solution, although we realise that this could be difficult for some other universities. 

It is clear that no reform to the USS is not an option.   Any solution will have to be agreed by employers and employees and will also need to meet both the Trustees’ legal obligations and the requirements of the Pensions Regulator.

I acknowledge that this is an extremely difficult situation and one that none of us wants to be in. Whilst it is always regrettable when industrial action takes place on a university campus, I have noted the respectful way in which staff and students have conducted themselves. Since negotiations are now proceeding in good faith, I hope that UCU will consider suspending its strike action for the benefit of our students. 

I can assure you that I want to see a resolution to this difficult situation and that I will do everything I can to protect the interests of our current and future generations of staff and students. 

Best wishes


Nancy Rothwell

President and Vice-Chancellor