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
- 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.
- the best social pension provision is DB
- 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.
- any increase in employee pension payments should be compensated for in future pay settlements.
Conference notes the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) could recommend a Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) scheme to replace the current USS Defined Benefit (DB) scheme.
Conference believes CDC schemes are considerably inferior to established DB schemes, even superior to individual DC plans.
Conference agrees UCU contact with the JEP and its chair should involve all our elected lay negotiators.
Conference instructs our negotiators to:
- Publicise any refusal, delays or conditionality by USS upon releasing information to JEP.
- Encourage members to make submissions to JEP.
- Arrange a dedicated UCU website section for JEP information and reports.
- oppose replacing the USS DB scheme with a CDC scheme, although a CDC scheme might form part of a top-up scheme for those earning over the cap in the current capped DB scheme
- pursue measures for improving pension arrangements for members on lower incomes, in the early career stage, on casualised contracts, and in equality strands.