Yesterday, our university management posted an update on the USS Pension scheme, under “latest news” which has led to queries from members. The university management’s statement contains a wholly inaccurate claim that the USS pensions dispute is “not a national ballot” and goes on to claim the “University is the subject of a dispute which we have no power to resolve.” In fact, save for one detail, UCU is following the same process as we always do in a national ballot – which is to serve individual ballot notices to each institution on whose behalf negotiations are being conducted. The only difference in this ballot is that, as our first national ballot since the unfair, anti-trade union Trade Union Act passed in 2016, every ballot now has to pass a 50 per cent threshold before action can take place. UCU has therefore decided to count each ballot separately in order to maximise the opportunity for branches to take action and minimise the possibility that low turnout in one or two institutions would stop action elsewhere. Every USS branch is being balloted, and this is a national campaign. Two Leeds UCU officers (Lesley and Vicky) are members of the UCU’s Higher Education Committee. They were both … continue reading
Leeds UCU will be making our views known about our statutes dispute and about pensions in a very festive way at lunchtime on Tuesday 5th December. We’ll be singing Christmas carols – with slightly different lyrics – around campus, with a brass accompaniment. The ‘UCU choir’ is great fun, and you don’t need to be a good singer, just come along and enjoy yourself. Festive costume (e.g. tinsel) entirely optional. We’ll be assembling at 1pm in room G.03, Baines Wing for a quick practice before going off to sing our hearts out. We’d love to have suitable lyrics for more Christmas carols – send your suggested wording to email@example.com And how would you complete a Christmas card to management that starts “All I want for Christmas is…”? Send us your thoughts! Some festive decorations: … continue reading
All members are welcome to the next Action Group meeting on Tuesday 7 November from 1-2 pm (see email for venue). Please come along to work on the next steps in the Statutes campaign, including discussing future action and to help develop the inspiring ‘University of the Aire’ theme which emerged in the ‘Striking Insights’ teach-out.
Your last chance to vote in the USS pension ‘consultative e-ballot’ from UCU is today at 5.15pm. It is *vital* that all members vote in this. Leeds UCU Committee urges you first of all to vote, and we recommend strongly that you vote to say yes, you are willing to take industrial action to defend pensions. Industrial action is always a serious step, but please be assured that in the event of any future action we will always do all we can to support members disproportionately affected by related deductions should that need arise. A recap on where we are is on this website at http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/archives/2664, The following links are also useful: Good clear blog post in the independent ‘Pension playpen’ USS latest news on national UCU website The USS employer consultation document (helpfully posted online by Sheffield university) (PDF) The response from UCU advisers First Actuarial (PDF) An email went out this morning from UCU HQ to members who haven’t yet voted with the subject line ‘Last chance to vote: defend USS now’ so if this is you, please check your inboxes for that email. The original email to members with the voting link went out on 19 … continue reading
Many UCU members will have pensions in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and will remember that back in 2014 the scheme was changed (against our wishes) to replace the final salary basis with a ‘career average’ one, and an element of ‘defined contribution’ for salaries over a certain threshold. This reduction in pension benefits was a consequence of how the USS pension pot was valued – a strange and self-contradictory methodology which produced a large apparent ‘deficit’. At that time UCU campaigned against this peculiar valuation and against the changes to our pensions, with limited effect, and eventually members voted against further industrial action and the changes were imposed. At the time, we were concerned that if the methodology wasn’t changed, the same would happen at the next 3-year valuation in 2017. Lo and behold, that’s where we are now. Here’s the financial situation in a nutshell: Your pension scheme receives more money every year from members paying in than it spends in paying out pensions and costs. The current value of the scheme’s assets is £60.5 billion. The payouts last year were approximately 3% of that. The surplus is growing each year, and the investments have grown at a … continue reading