Members will have received communications recently from the University and from UCU about the USS’s consultation over proposed changes to our pension. The consultation is a requirement upon USS, and was originally deferred as a result of the outcome of the dispute earlier this year, when it was originally scheduled for June.
One of the important proposals that caused members to vote to freeze our dispute earlier this year, was the creation of the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) that would look into the pension valuation. We therefore don’t recommend that members respond to the USS consultation until the JEP reports. Leeds UCU will be in touch with members again once we have considered the implications of that report, with some recommended responses to the consultation.
Members who want begin to consider responding to the consultation, or wish to do so before the JEP reports, might wish first to read the recent UCU briefing for members on this issue. And perhaps read Sheffield UCU’s commentary on Twitter here. The questions asked in the consultation cover:
- The removal of the 1% match
- Proposals over contributions above the salary threshold
- Increased contributions shared 35:65 between members and employees respectively
- The size of contribution increases under the cost sharing rule
- Any other comments
Recent new insightful and informative contributions to the discussion around the USS pension include:
An article by Michael Otsuka considering the University of London’s SAUL pension scheme, which is identical in structure and investment context to USS, yet running a surplus for lower contributions.
A twitter thread by National USS negotiator Sam Marsh (University of Sheffield) who demonstrates from USS’s own statistics that our ‘deficit’ is a direct product of de-risking (cancel the de-risking and the scheme would be in £11Bn surplus)
In relation to that last thread, you may be interested to sign a petition calling for full transparency from USS
A recent article in the Times Higher (by the former governor of the Bank of England and a prominent economist / investment officer of an Oxford college) which debunks the ‘deficit’ and says that the USS is perfectly healthy (unpaywalled version here). Sam Marsh focusses on choice aspects of that article here.
You might also wish to go to the University’s consultation on 20th September and ask questions that arise from your reading of these recent revelations.