This page will present information and links concerning the dispute over the future of USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) pensions. The latest updates from the local branch committee on the USS pensions dispute are available below, in chronological order with the most recent first. 

But first, some important links and background information.


We went on strike for 14 days in February and March 2018 to protect our pensions.  The employers wanted to move USS to a ‘Defined Contribution’ scheme, with no guaranteed pension benefits and lower retirement income. We have recently learned that our own University was among a minority that wanted a full shift to Defined Contribution.  A typical lecturer would lose about £10k a year in retirement and early career staff would suffer badly (depending on vagaries of the markets).  The strikes ended with an agreement to set up a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) to consider the scheme’s highly disputed valuation.

The Joint Expert Panel published their first report in September (see link above), which largely validates the arguments that UCU has been making for many years about the USS valuation.  See our blog post about this, the national UCU response, and the @USSbriefs reaction. There will now be negotiations between UCU and Universities UK to finalise the 2017 valuation and thence any future pensions changes.

UCU will democratically decide what to do next in November. There was much discussion of the pensions dispute at the annual UCU Congress and at the follow up Higher Education special sector conference on USS.  We certainly hope that our pensions can be preserved without further industrial action, especially since the JEP report is so much in our favour.  Watch this space…