This page will present information and links concerning the 2017/18 dispute over the future of the USS pension scheme. The latest updates from the local branch committee on the USS pensions dispute are available below, in chronological order with the most recent first.
Update sent by branch vice president Tim Goodall to all members by email on Friday 3 August Dear UCU members, You will have seen that the USS pension scheme has announced it will implement a ‘cost-sharing’ package, meaning that both employers and employees will see increased contributions to our USS pension scheme. These increases will be staggered, and begin in April 2019, when our contributions will rise from 8% of salary to 8.8%. That will then increase to 10.4% after six months, and up to 11.7% in April 2020. Employers will see a similar phasing of increases, up to 24.9% by 2020. The employers’ 1% match of voluntary additional contributions will come to an end. The USS argues that these increases are necessary to make up the ‘deficit’ as calculated on certain disputed bases last year. USS will consult with scheme members on these changes in September. The Joint Expert Panel was set up after the agreement of UCU members earlier this year, with a remit to look into that deficit. We do know that USS’s ‘accounting deficit’ has recently dropped from £17.5bn to £8.4bn, as a result of them applying different mortality and bond yield forecasts, demonstrating how pliable …continue reading
The UCU HE sector conference on USS pensions had been achieved by 20-30 branches passing motions requisitioning a special meeting. This was to ensure continued member debate and input following the ending of the momentous strike action over USS. It was a useful conference enabling members to continue engagement with the processes at play in the USS dispute. The motions focussed on transparency and member involvement in the joint expert panel (JEP) and defending defined benefits. There was some discontent that only 2.5 hours had been allocated for the event, to which 27 motions had been submitted. Inevitably, five motions, including one from Leeds, fell off the agenda due to time constraints. The Leeds motion instructing our negotiators to oppose replacing our DB scheme with a collective defined contribution (CDC) scheme was passed. A motion calling on the CEO of USS, Bill Galvin, to resign was passed. The meeting was the start of the union’s membership introducing accountability into the latest developments in the USS campaign. Motions 1-12, 14 and 15 were passed and 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 were remitted to the Higher Education Committee. Motions a, c, d, e were voted back onto the agenda and passed with …continue reading
Members of UCU University of Leeds branch proposed six motions to go to the UCU special conference about the USS pensions dispute, on 21 June. Members of the branch submitted and approved six motions and these have been amalgamated by the committee into two motions (because there is a limit of two per branch): Campaigning for DB pensions as the best social pension provision Conference notes: our successful industrial action defended the principle of Defined Benefit (DB) pensions, challenging political orthodoxy to accept DB pensions were “unaffordable”. the current government is weak widespread criticism of university leaders for their enrichment. pensions are deferred wages, thus increased employee pension contributions are a de facto pay cut. Labour Party policy has shifted from solely promoting Defined Contribution (DC) Pensions towards support for Defined Benefit pensions. Conference believes: the best social pension provision is DB Conference resolves: to campaign for DB pensions within and without the labour movement, launching via a national trade union conference on the future of pension provision in Britain, together with advocates of DB pension schemes. to work with all relevant political parties, calling them to advocate for collective provision of DB pensions, the public university and academic freedom. …continue reading
From email sent to all members by branch president Vicky Blake at 3.14pm on Friday 13 April 2018
The result of the UCU members’ ballot over whether to accept the latest UUK proposal closed at 2pm. We have just heard the result from HQ: Accept
This means that our industrial action will be called off. So no strike on Monday.
This was not the result that the branch EGM agreed to support, however we know that everyone gave the issue considerable thought before voting and we respect each other’s opinions. We need to keep our solidarity strong and carry on working well together. We have uploaded a Dinosaur of Solidarity image created by our very own Honorary Secretary Jonathan Saha for everyone to use on social media [here] – solidarity shared is strength and support increased!
In a well attended emergency general meeting, members of UCU University of Leeds branch voted today to recommend that members vote ‘no’ in the new UCU ballot on the latest offer from Universities UK in the persions dispute. The branch also noted the valuable new USS Briefs, short articles by a range of academics on different aspects of the strike, and that an independent group of UCU members has devised a survey of members’ voting preferences, motivations, and other views surrounding the ballot. The branch resolved to encourage all USS members to complete the survey. After a thorough and collegial debate, considering a range of perspectives on the ballot and recognising the branch’s enthusiasm for a decisive conclusion to the current industrial action, members voted for the following motion: Leeds University UCU branch notes: the support and energy of our members during the course of the fourteen days of strike action in defence of our pensions. the branch delegates meeting (held on the 28th March at UCU HQ, London) on the USS dispute where last-minute evidence was tabled, on which delegates had no opportunity to consult their members. that, at the conclusion of the branch delegates meeting, no vote was …continue reading