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.
Latest update – report from the Join Expert Panel (it has an executive summary if you are short of time) – and also see the Leeds UCU reaction in the first blog post listed below
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 thee 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.
Text from all-members email sent 3 July 2019 Casework drop-in Weds 2 July, 12.30 – 2:30, 7.52 EC Stoner If there’s something you think you might need UCU support for, but aren’t sure, drop in for a chat with a caseworker. Our casework drop-ins are usually on the first Wednesday of each month. For serious matters where you will definitely need your own caseworker, don’t wait for a drop-in session, email firstname.lastname@example.org. More about UCU support at http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/support-and-benefits/ Supporting Bradford College UCU strikes Weds 3 – Fri 5 July Bradford College UCU are striking over job cuts and pay. The college intends to cut 131 jobs, and staff have had only one 1% pay rise in the last 11 years, which means their pay has declined by 25% in real terms. If you can support their picket line on your way to work that would be fantastic solidarity – look out for the Leeds UCU banner. See https://ucu.org.uk/article/10189/Three-day-walkout-at-Bradford-College-from-Wednesday?list=1676 Extraordinary General Meeting Weds 10 July, 12 noon, Michael Sadler LG15 Concerned about any or all of: pensions, pay and equality, Head of School appointments, lecture capture, UniForum, discussion boards for in-course feedback, timetabling, or centralisation of admissions? Come and have your say at this …continue reading
University of Leeds University & College Union USS Pensions There seems to be no comfortable end in sight for the USS dispute. USS have proposed three options as solutions to the ongoing valuation, all of which mean members and employers paying more, and none of which implement the Joint Expert Panel’s recommendations. Employers prefer option 3 which would increase member contributions to 9.6% with possible imposed additional increases after later valuations. It has recently been revealed, after whistleblowing from a USS trustee, that USS misled employers and members about the 2018 valuation, claiming wrongly that The Pensions Regulator had said the JEP recommendations would be too risky. UCU believes we can’t trust these people any longer, has called for the resignation of USS CEO Bill Galvin, and is exploring the possibility of legal action against the USS Trustee Board. We reject any members’ contribution increases, we call on UUK to pick up any imposed extra costs, and we plan to ballot on industrial action in September if they do not agree. See leedsucu.org.uk/pensions What’s happening on pay? 2019 pay negotiations with the employers began in early May and the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) offered 1.8% (increased to 3.65% …continue reading
All members of UCU University of Leeds Branch are invited to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting: Wednesday 10 July 12 noon – 1pmMichael Sadler seminar room LG.15 The meeting will discuss a number of issues that the branch needs to take a position on or plan for before next semester: USS pensions disputePay and Equality disputeHead of School appointmentsMisuse of lecture capture by the universityUniForum (another round of collecting benchmarking data on “the efficiency and effectiveness of administration and support services”)Discussion boards for in-course feedbackTimetablingCentralisation of admissions A full agenda will be circulated soon including motions submitted by members on these issues. The deadline for submitting motions (by email to email@example.com) is noon on Tuesday 2 July. If you want to submit a motion, perhaps with other colleagues, you can discuss it with any branch committee members beforehand if that would be helpful. All members are very welcome to the meeting. We hope to see lots of you there! (To new members: General Meetings are for all UCU members at the university. They are where we make decisions as a local union, so are fundamental to our democracy. They are hopefully also useful for finding out what’s going on across the university and …continue reading
UCU’s higher education committee (HEC) today voted to officially censure Trinity College, Cambridge and will call on staff worldwide to boycott the institution unless it reverses its decision to pull out of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). At a meeting of the college’s Fellows this morning, a motion to reconsider the decision to withdraw from USS was lost by 43 votes to 76. The union will set up a special committee to consider what action the boycott would entail and it may include asking HE staff to: not attend, speak at or organise academic or other conferences at Trinity not apply for jobs at Trinity not give lectures at Trinity not accept positions as visiting professors or researchers at Trinity not write for any academic journal which is edited from Trinity not take up new contracts as external examiners. (Post from UCU national website) …continue reading