Download the Word file here: 2018.03.27 EGM minutes Leeds UCU
University of Leeds Local Association
Emergency General Meeting
Tuesday 27 March, 1pm – 2pm (but may overrun)
Venue: Roger Stevens lecture theatre 21
This branch welcomes the climbdown by UUK in removing its previous, unacceptable offer and instructs negotiators to seek more assurances from UUK before the new offer is put to all members.
This branch notes that:
- the terms proposed by UUK for the formation of a Joint Expert Panel on the valuation of USS represents a welcome concession which is a tribute to the effectiveness of our strike action
- our negotiators must return to UUK to resolve the dispute on terms acceptable to our members.
Leeds UCU calls on UCU negotiators to submit a counter-proposal to the UUK proposal of 23rd March. This would accept the proposal in principle but with the following amendments:
- that UUK, on behalf of the employers that they represent, agree that the status quo shall be extended beyond April 2019, should this prove necessary in order to complete the independent valuation, to complete any subsequent negotiations between the parties, and to conduct full consultations with all parties.
- that future valuations are carried out on a transparent basis in relation both to data and decision-making. All data used for the valuation to be made easily available for public scrutiny.
- that a pension ‘comparable to current provision’ equates to one that is not inferior to our existing provision
- a timetable for agreeing a new valuation such that it allows UCU to engage in effective industrial action, if this is necessary
- a clear and transparent methodology for consulting employers and members over the emerging findings and recommendations from the Joint Expert Panel, with consultation points for both parties to be built in at key points during the Joint Expert Panel process
- that if in the light of a new, independent valuation, contributions or benefits need to be adjusted in either direction, it will be recognised that employers’ contributions were substantially reduced between 1997 and 2009 while employees’ contributions remained unchanged, any therefore that any increase in contributions that may be required for the 2019-2022 cycle should come from employers.
- that members will not be required to reschedule classes lost as a result of industrial action
- that no deductions for current strike action take place, due to lack of due diligence from employers in relation to the existing valuations
- that no balloting of members take place until any agreement between UCU and UUK is confirmed by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee, the USS Trustees and the Pension Regulator, recognising their statutory responsibilities. This will need to include acceptance by the pensions regulator of an extension of the deadline for completing the 2017 valuation, and from the USS trustees that the conclusions resulting from the panel’s work will be allowed to replace the November 2017 valuation as the basis for any reform of the current scheme. Both UCU and UUK will make the necessary approaches to seek this support.
- If these assurances cannot be given by 16 April, then the current programme of industrial action should continue.
Moved by Kate Hardy
Third bullet point in “amendments” section to be amended from “comparable with” to “comparable to.” (“I can compare my salary with the vice chancellors but it is not comparable to it.”) The motion was carried, except for the penultimate bullet point (no deductions for strike action) on which the branch wishes to report to the UCU Higher Education Committee that opinion was split 50-50.
Motion 2: No Detriment counterproposal
Leeds University UCU branch notes that members voted for strike action to preserve their existing USS benefit structure or compel the employers to pay the difference.
Leeds University UCU branch therefore mandates negotiators to submit a revised proposal to UUK which:
- Replaces ‘a guaranteed pension broadly comparable to current arrangements’ by ‘a Defined Benefit CARE pension with no reductions in benefits or increases in contributions for scheme members’.
- Thereby extends maintenance of the current benefits structure to the next valuation round.
Leeds University UCU branch resolves that, until such a position is agreed, HEC should vote for the dispute, and action, to remain on.
Moved by Lesley McGorrigan
Amended from “comparable with” to “comparable to”. The motion was carried
Motion 3: Additional improvements to a UCU counterproposal
Leeds University UCU branch mandates the negotiators to add the following additional conditions to a revised proposal to UUK and to seek agreement on these:
- Replace ‘within the current regulatory framework’ by ‘identifies any changes to the regulatory framework required to take account of the special circumstances of the scheme and the sector’.
- Add to ‘measures aimed at stabilising the fund’, ‘including governmental guarantees to either allow “partial” funding, as has happened in the past, or make up any short-fall’.
- Add ‘including to make up for the loss in pension resulting from previous valuation scheme changes’ after ‘alternative scheme design options’.
Leeds University UCU branch further resolves that negotiators should seek agreement that UUK agrees that there will be no pay deductions at least for staff on casualised contracts and preferably for all staff.
Moved by Lesley McGorrigan
The motion was carried
Motion 4: No suspension or e-ballot without confirmation of regulatory acceptance
Leeds University UCU branch notes that the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) makes decisions on benefits and contributions, the Trustee Board makes decisions on the valuation framework and the Pension Regulator needs to approve the whole package.
Leeds University UCU branch recognises that proposals on benefits and contributions agreed by the JNC will need to be presented in an appropriate way to the Board and Regulator to ensure that they do not prevent them being implemented.
Leeds University UCU branch resolves to request that HEC makes no decision on suspending the action and balloting members until any proposal agreed by UCU and UUK is confirmed by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee, the USS Trustees and the Pension Regulator.
Moved by Lesley McGorrigan
The motion was carried.
The University of Leeds Local Association of the UCU believes that the most recent UUK proposal should be put to a full membership ballot.
Proposed by Jonathan Saha
The motion fell because motion 1 was carried. The meeting agreed to hold an indicative vote on the motion anyway. The indicative vote was clearly against the motion.