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.
- First report from the Join Expert Panel, September 2018 (it has an executive summary if you are short of time)
- A ‘plain English’ history of the current pension dispute
- UCU ‘Action for USS’ page
- USSbriefs reports are excellent investigations and summaries of pension and related issues (from group of UCU members who came together to produce helpful materials about pensions and related issues). If you only have time to read one of their reports, pick this summary (USSbriefs44)
Summer 2019 – where are we now
We called off our strike last year on the promise of a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) being established to look at how the pension scheme operated. The JEP made seven recommendations, and both the employers and the UCU accepted these recommendations. Once implemented, these would imply a total contribution rate of 26% for both employers and employees, allowing members’ contributions to return to the 8% rate. The USS has refused to implement these recommendations, and has offered no clear explanation why they will not. When USS tried to imply that the Pensions Regulator used a specific measure of measuring the strength of the Universities’ covenant (their ability to pay long-term), the Regulator publicly refuted this claim.
The current UCU position is still one of no detriment – our contributions rates should not rise, and our benefits in retirement should not go down. We argue that if further contributions have to be made, then the employers should foot the bill.
On 22 August 2019 the USS Joint Negotiating Committee decided, via the casting vote of the ‘independent’ chair, to significantly increase our pension contributions from 8.8% now (8% until recently) to 9.6% of salary this October, then 11% a year later. JEP recommendations have been chipped away at and largely ignored.
UCU has a brilliant pensions negotiating team, chaired by our own Vicky Blake and including the great Sam Marsh from Sheffield, who worked long and tirelessly to avoid this outcome. They tried extremely hard to persuade the employers to compromise and listen to the evidence but the employers seem determined to force staff to pay more.
It seems that the only language employers will pay attention to is strikes. So UCU will be balloting for industrial action in September/October. Members please get ready to vote! and please share this information with colleagues who pay into a USS pension.
See news on UCU website.