- Our University was one of the institutions that wanted us to lose Defined Benefits altogether.
- UCU National Disputes Committee adopts a ‘No Detriment’ position
- USS letter proposes using an updated March 2018 valuation to supersede the March 2017 valuation
Our University’s position on last year’s UUK proposal to end to Defined Benefits
Members at Leeds may have seen the recent release of the University of Leeds’s recent responses to UUK surveys of its members over the USS pensions scheme. What these documents tell us is that our University is among the most hawkish in willing an end to your Defined Benefit pension and that, in something of a volte-face given that early verdict, they have conceded that the UUK should adopt the JEP recommendations. We link to these documents at the bottom of this page.
Michael Otsuka, who has been instrumental in commenting on and explaining the various vagaries of the pensions dispute, has described our recorded university’s position as “foaming at the mouth alarmist in their claims of DB” and pointed out that our employer was one of the minority that advocated a shift to 100% defined contributions – the base cause of last year’s strike. Professor Otsuka highlights the insensitivity of our University’s response.
He goes on to point out that our University has posted USS’s response to Sam Marsh’s and his own critiques of ‘Test 1’ on their ‘For Staff’ USS 2017 Valuation page and requests that the University consider linking to his reply to that USS communication: https://medium.com/@mikeotsuka/test-1-de-risking-is-dead-long-live-de-risking-63540ad44e84
UCU National Disputes Committee adopts a ‘No Detriment’ position
A National Disputes Committee of the UCU was established at the HE sector conferences of May and June 2018. The NDC is tasked with providing direction to the Superannuation Working Group and to Union leadership.
In light of the JEP recommendations, the NDC made the following announcement last week:
- UCU members should suffer no detriment in any proposed resolution of the USS dispute. Lost earning should be repaid, any interim contribution increases should be shouldered by the employer, and USS benefits should remain the same.
- UCU should call upon UUK and individual Vice Chancellors to apologise to their staff for their role in triggering the dispute [see above for the Leeds position!]
- UUK and individual Vice Chancellors should also apologise to students for their actions and offer appropriate compensation for lost teaching.
USS letter proposes using an updated March 2018 valuation to supersede the March 2017 valuation
In a letter dated 23 October the USS has proposed to employers that, in order to accommodate some of the JEP proposals, they might in effect replace the March 2017 valuation with a March 2018 valuation. This, they argue would nonetheless still necessitate the controversial requirement of triggers for more contributions from employers between valuations, and this despite the already increased ‘deficit recovery contributions’ from employers that were put in place partially to avoid automatic triggers of further employer contributions. This is something that the JEP had already suggest should be addressed in the longer term rather than be kept within the envelope of discussion. This letter suggests that USS is still minded to resist all of the JEP recommendations. This last week, @USSbriefs has been surveying various employer responses to the UUK consultation over the JEP recommendations, and collectively these, alongside any UCU position could participate in bringing USS closer to accepting all JEP recommendations.
University of Leeds UUK consultation documents
2016 UUK response:
March 2017 response:
September 2017 response:
October 2018 response to UUK consultation on JEP: https://www.leeds.ac.uk/forstaff/downloads/download/1112/uss_leeds_response_to_uuk_consultation_re_jep_october_2018