The USS joint expert panel has published its report this afternoon.
The joint expert panel was set up by UCU and Universities UK to try to establish a common understanding about the health of the USS pension scheme because UCU believed the proposal to end the defined-benefit pension scheme was based on a flawed evaluation.
The report has been welcomed by both UCU national officers and Universities UK which represents the employers, as a basis for resuming talks on the pension scheme. Link to national UCU response
We’ll publish a local response once UCU committee members have had a chance to read and digest the full report.
Members will have received communications recently from the University and from UCU about the USS’s consultation over proposed changes to our pension. The consultation is a requirement upon USS, and was originally deferred as a result of the outcome of the dispute earlier this year, when it was originally scheduled for June.
One of the important proposals that caused members to vote to freeze our dispute earlier this year, was the creation of the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) that would look into the pension valuation. We therefore don’t recommend that members respond to the USS consultation until the JEP reports. Leeds UCU will be in touch with members again once we have considered the implications of that report, with some recommended responses to the consultation.
There’s no rush – you have until Friday 2nd November to respond to the consultation.
In relation to that last thread, you may be interested to sign a petition calling for full transparency from USS
A recent article in the Times Higher (by the former governor of the Bank of England and a prominent economist / investment officer of an Oxford college) which debunks the ‘deficit’ and says that the USS is perfectly healthy (unpaywalled version here). Sam Marsh focusses on choice aspects of that article here.
The strike ballot opened 30 August and will close Friday 19 October.
The union’s national and local committees are both urging members to vote YES for both strike action and action short of a strike up to and including a marking and assessment boycott.
To strike we will need to get the 50 percent turnout required by the Tories’ anti-strike law, while the law forbids us from using methods which would make that easier such as secure online voting or workplace ballot boxes. So union reps and members will be reminding everyone to vote throughout this period to make sure we’re not prevented by a biased law from taking action if members want to.
Please make sure the details on your My UCU account are up to date.
We’re emailing all @leedsucu members eligible to vote a unique link to tell us when you’ve voted (or that you don’t want any individual reminders). Please click on that link when you’ve voted, but not until your ballot paper is in the post box!
This will help us to focus our reminders on members who have yet to vote, or who don’t wish to disclose whether they’ve voted. We’re not asking how you voted (though the national and local committees are recommending members vote YES and YES).