Members of UCU University of Leeds branch passed the following emergency motion at our AGM on 16 May 2019:
This branch notes that:
- The 2018 USS dispute was suspended with an agreement that Defined Benefit pensions should not be scrapped and that a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) should be set up to reconsider the USS valuation.
- This Joint Expert Panel reported in September 2018 (see http://www.ussjep.org.uk/report-of-the-joint-expert-panel/) and largely vindicated the UCU position on the USS valuation.
- The University of Leeds broadly supported the JEP recommendations, including the levels of contributions proposed. (see https://www.leeds.ac.uk/forstaff/download/downloads/id/1536/uss_leeds_response_to_uuk_consultation_re_jep_october_2018)
- To Maintain current benefits, USS have already imposed a default increase in our contributions from 8% of salary to 8.8% in April 2019, with a further increase coming in October if an agreement on valuations cannot be reached.
- If the JEP recommendations were implemented in full, there would be no need for further contribution increases or benefit reductions.
- The position of UCU nationally is ‘No Detriment’ i.e. that there should be no further increases to our pension contributions and no reductions to our pension benefits.
- The USS board issued a statement on 9th May (see https://www.uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run/2018-valuation/2018-valuation-updates/9-may-2019) saying they are now consulting with university employers about three new options that they have identified, all of which would mean increases in pension contributions, and none of which follow JEP recommendations.
This branch believes:
- That USS, by ignoring the JEP recommendations, is being disrespectful of university staff and students and the sacrifices and disruption they endured in the fight to save our pensions, and of the JEP.
- That the University of Leeds should support its staff and avoid unnecessary expense by unambiguously reiterating its support for the JEP recommendations rather than accepting any of the options that USS are currently consulting on.
- That UCU should continue to uphold its policy of ‘No Detriment’.
- Given the current trajectory toward detriment with any of USS’s three options, UCU should ballot for further strike action.
This branch resolves:
To write to the Vice-Chancellor urging him to respond to the USS employer consultation to say that Leeds does not support any of the three new options suggested by USS, and that the full Joint Expert Panel recommendations should be implemented instead, and that USS Board should consequently suspend their additional planned contributions increases in October 2019.
To send this motion, demonstrating the views of the Leeds UCU branch, to the UCU National Disputes Committee (NDC), to the UCU Superannuation Working Group (SWG), and to the elected UCU pensions negotiators on the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC).