From email to members from branch president Ben Plumpton
Employers have voted (22 August) to increase our USS pension contributions from 8.8% of salary now (8% until recently) to 9.6% in October and 11% next October. They have rejected the key finding of Joint Expert Panel (which they set up with UCU) that there is no need to increase pension contributions to keep the scheme in good health.
UCU has a brilliant negotiating team, chaired by our own Vicky Blake and including the great Sam Marsh from Sheffield, who worked long and tirelessly to avoid this outcome. They tried extremely hard to persuade the employers to compromise and listen to the evidence, but the employers seem determined to force staff to pay more. The ‘independent’ chair’s casting vote at the USS Joint Negotiating Committee enabled the increased contributions proposal to be pushed through.
It seems that the only language employers will pay attention to is strikes. So UCU will be balloting for industrial action in September/October. A strong ‘Yes’ vote may be enough to pull the employers back to negotiating properly. I think the employers know that strikes would be effective, because apparently they tried to get UCU to agree to a ban on strikes for 2 years in return for a slightly lower increase in contributions! If, like me, you are annoyed by this, please download a poster from here https://ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss and put it up on your door or somewhere public.
Vicky Blake (UCU Vice President) said “It’s a real shame that after what felt like considerable progress, our employers have once again failed to hold the USS executive to account, and have moved to impose utterly unjustified, unfair costs upon ordinary members. It does not have to be like this. We will keep fighting for fair pensions.” So, please get ready to vote! And please share this information with colleagues who pay into a USS pension.