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USS dispute 2010-12 - CARE reform

How events developed over the USS dispute.

(Latest first)

21 September 2012 - action suspended after resumption of talks

UCU branches have agreed to suspend the current work-to-contract on the basis that the employers have agreed to  restart talks. Talks should therefore resume shortly on the key issue of the comparability of the USS schemes with the Teachers' Pension Scheme. We will be able to raise crucial aspects of the package imposed in October 2011, such as the: inflation cap, accrual rates, and revaluation indices.

The employers' side has indicated that it is willing to resume discussions and, accordingly, the institutions with which we have a trade dispute have been formally notified that we are willing to suspend our current industrial action. We have proposed to the employers that the suspension will take effect on Wednesday 26 September 2012 and that the suspension will be maintained while serious and constructive talks are taking place. Affected HEIs have been given until noon on Monday 24 September to indicate any objection to this arrangement.

If no objection is received then UCU is suspending the co-ordinated action on working to contract that we have been undertaking as part of the dispute from Wednesday 26 September 2012.

Previous advice applies: this should not be seen as a green light for the employer to expect our members to return to excessive working hours or to ignore relevant legislation. Members should continue to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Branches are further encouraged to refer to the advice at www.ucu.org.uk/workload so that workloads remain a collective issue.

13 September 2012 - conference votes for talks resumption

A special conference of pre-92 branches agreed to seek a resumption of talks with the employers to resolve the USS dispute. 

17 July 2012 - chair casts vote with UCU

We had negotiated a 12-month extension to the right to take unreduced pension benefits if you are made redundant. In response to the resumption of our industrial action, the employers had refused to support the implementation of this agreement through the USS Joint Negotiating Committee.

Last week UCU representatives called a vote on the issue and Sir Andrew Cubie, the Chair of the JNC, voted with the UCU representatives. The extension to this previous benefit is now in place.

14 June 2012 - Congress votes to return to work-to-contract

Following a debate at Higher Education Sector Conference in which the majority of delegates felt that insufficient progress had been made in the talks, delegates voted to call on members to return to working to contract as of Monday 18 June. The employers have been formally informed of the union's position. In response to the resumption of our industrial action, they have indicated that they are not prepared to continue with further talks to consider possible changes to the scheme.

Please read the full details of what Higher Education Sector Conference are calling on members to do and more on the employers' response:  Defend USS campaign site

2 April 2012

A joint group of UCU and representatives of the pre-92 employers have met on two occasions to work through the key stages associated with the work programme submitted to our special conference of pre-92 branches on 31 January.

Two meetings in March were held with USS staff and the actuarial advisers. These meetings discussed the approach to be adapted to the comparison of the USS CARE scheme against the TPS Heads of Agreement scheme. In line with the work programme approved by our conference, the advisers have been asked to model a comparison at the level of the individual (following career paths we suggested) and also a note on the aggregate impact on USS if the provisions of the TPS CARE scheme were adopted by USS.

The advisers have agreed to provide their report in time for the next meeting of UCU and the employers on 16 April. It is hoped that the information provided will help focus further discussions and the employers' side has agreed a schedule of further meetings before the UCU HE sector conference. This is helpful, particularly as UCU negotiators have been clear that we must be in a position to circulate a report on progress prior to conference.

Although the UCU team is determined to make progress through negotiations, at this stage it is too early to judge whether there will have been sufficient progress to enable a further suspension of the action. While the need to take further action would be regrettable, we must be prepared to resume industrial action when and if necessary. Therefore, branches should continue to agree local escalation plans in case the negotiations do not deliver acceptable outcomes.

17 February 2012

Quotation : Quotation markThe HE officers (on the advice of the union's Superannuation Working Group) have now agreed that the employers should be notified that we are willing to suspend our current industrial action.

Negotiations will therefore resume shortly on the key issue of the comparability of the USS schemes with other public sector schemes, including TPS.

We now have the opportunity to talk to the employers about crucial aspects of the package imposed in October 2011, such as the: inflation cap, accrual rates, and revaluation indices, and the right to an un-reduced pension if made redundant. On this latter point, we have already won a 12-month extension to enable a joint review.

However, the HE officers have also agreed that we should not suspend the current industrial action on an open-ended basis or even to the end of the negotiating timetable. Instead, UCU will be reporting on progress to our June conference  so a decision can then be made then about our suspended action in the light of developments.

The USS negotiators have a tough task and I know you will give them every support.

Best as ever

Sally Hunt,
UCU General Secretary

18 January 2012

Sally Hunt has written to members on developments arising from the negotiations between UCU and representatives of the USS institutions and the immediate steps the employers have agreed to move on following members' action.

A conference of branches and local associations will take place on 31 January to decide whether to accept the negotiating team's recommendation that UCU suspend its current action in order to participate in the joint reviews.

Branches and local associations will be consulting members as to how they should vote on your behalf at the decision-making conference. Please participate so your voice is heard before we decide our next steps.

Read the full letter: Update on USS negotiations

10 January 2012

The 'work to rule' in pre-1992 HEIs remains in place and is causing difficulties for employers.

Members may be aware that, at the end of October, the employers' agreed to further talks on issues relating to the USS scheme but outwith the extreme constraints imposed by the formal JNC machinery.

On 16 December, UCU representatives met directly with employers' representatives. We pressed the employers on their insistence on ending the right to an unreduced pension in the event of redundancy from 2013. We envisage that 2013 could potentially be a year of particular upheaval in the sector. We also pressed the employers' representatives for a response to the changed pension landscape, in particular the recent developments in other public sector schemes. We said the employers needed to respond to the terms of the CARE schemes that even this Government was offering to others working in public services.

The employers agreed to further meetings on 5, 10 and 12 January.

At its December meeting, the Higher Education Committee agreed to call a decision-making conference of pre-92 branches to discuss recent developments in the dispute and plans to escalate industrial action. This will take place on 31 january 2012.

Members take strike action

30 November - Defend public sector pensions

Message from Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary

18 November 2011: USS talks begin

Talks between the UCU and the employers begin today. These are the first talks since May this year and the fact that they are even taking place is a massive tribute to the work-to-contract action being taken by members in pre-92 branches. UCU has also written to USS challenging the assumptions it will be using to value the scheme. Please keep up the action. Read more here.

14 November 2011: USS valuation briefing

UCU has publisheed a briefing note on the USS valuation:  (.pdf) file type icon USS valuation report: UCU briefing note, Nov 11 (.pdf) [35kb]

4 November 2011: Sally Hunt writes to USS members

Quotation : Quotation markI hope you will have seen by now that the employers have, at last, responded positively to UCU's proposal for talks. You can see more about this story here.

Thank you for your help in achieving this small but welcome step. Such talks would not be taking place without your 'working to contract' campaign.

I will do all I can to make the talks a success. However, I will need your help. Please continue to observe  the 'work to contract' campaign.  Every member who supports the union's campaign strengthens our bargaining position. Further details are available here: defenduss.web.ucu.org.uk.

I have asked your local associations and branches to continue with their local preparations to escalate the action so that the union is ready should talks fail.  Unless there is a breakthrough before that time, the union will also be asking members to take one day of strike action on 30 November, alongside many other unions.

As ever, you have my assurance that I will do all I can to achieve a fair settlement.

Sally Hunt
General secretary

28 October 2011: UCU welcomes fresh pension talks

Representatives of UCU and university employers have agreed a programme of talks to try and resolve a dispute about changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme. You can find out more about the forthcoming talks here: UCU welcomes fresh pensions talks

10 October 2011 countdown to action

The UCU general secretary emailed members on 29 September to alert the to the preparations now well under way for the next phase of the USS dispute. From 10 October, the union is asking every member to support action short of a strike in the form of 'working to contract'. As a UCU member, this means that from 10 October you should:

  • work no more than your contracted hours where those hours are expressly stated, and in any event not to exceed the maximum  number of hours per week stipulated in the Working Time Regulations
  • perform no additional voluntary duties, such as out of hours cover, or covering for colleagues (unless such cover is contractually required)
  • undertake no duties in breach of health and safety policies or other significant employer's policies
  • set and mark no work beyond that work which you are contractually obliged to set and/or mark
    attend no meetings where such attendance is voluntary.

14 September 2011 - USS industrial action ballot: members vote for 'sustained campaign of industrial action'

UCU members have voted for a campaign of sustained industrial action in protest at the imposition of changes to their pensions. Over three-quarters (77%) of UCU members who voted, voted for the sustained campaign of industrial action. UCU is now discussing a long-term national plan of action with its branches. The action is likely to begin in mid-October and UCU warned today that it will continue until there is a breakthrough.

Actions under consideration to start the campaign include working-to-contract and working-to-rule. If the employers still refuse to negotiate then the union will consider setting exams but not marking them and, if required, escalating the action to include a full assessment boycott. UCU members also voted in favour of strike action, which the union said may be a feature of its campaign.

The turnout was higher than the previous ballot held in early 2011, despite the fact that the vote took place during the summer months, evidence of members' strong feelings. The union said the employers had waged a campaign of misinformation, including a taxpayer-subsidised advert aimed at persuading staff the scheme was in trouble based on a snapshot of its value, rather than a proper valuation.

The ballot came after members of UCU attending UCU's annual congress voted to step up the campaign of industrial action in an increasingly bitter row over the USS changes. The escalation of action could see widespread disruption to marking, the admissions process and exams.

Delegates at May's UCU Congress in Harrogate backed a motion calling for UCU members in the 'old' pre-92 universities to be balloted for 'sustained industrial action.': UCU members vote to step-up industrial action in pensions row

Ballot result

The USS ballot result has produced majorities in favour of both action short of a strike and strike action as follows:

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?
YES: 9,494 (58.06%)
NO: 6,857 (41.94%)

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of action short of a strike?
YES: 12,510 (76.69%)
NO: 3,802 (23.31%)

The turnout was 42%, which is up substantially from the last ballot, despite voting taking place over the summer. Thank you to all members for helping to deliver this substantial mandate for action.

Read the full news release

3 August 2011 - £50k 'recognition' award question

UCU question why the chief executive of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) received a 'recognition award' of £50,000 while the dispute over changes to the scheme was still ongoing: University pension chief pockets £50,000 'reward' as scheme members set to lose over £100,000

16 June 2011 - members' briefing

A briefing for UCU members in pre-92 universities involved in the USS dispute. The briefing aims to update you on where we are now, what we have achieved, what remains to be done, why we are still in dispute and how we might end this dispute in a way that protects UCU members:  (.pdf) file type icon Defend USS: Members' briefing, Jun 11 (.pdf) [62kb]

The decision over whether we take these steps is down to you the member. We hope this briefing helps you to make that decision.

10 May 2011 - Employers railroad proposals through

On 10 May the employers forced through their changes after once again refusing to negotiate over changes to USS or UCU's tabled counter-proposals. The union's USS negotiators have recommended a fresh ballot of USS members for a major programme of sustained disruption, which would include external examiner duties and the admissions process during 2011-12. Read more here: USS dispute - Employers railroad proposals through and here: Universities face 'sustained disruption' as bullying employers railroad pension changes through

UCU: without prejudice counter-proposals

UCU requests meaningful engagement with the employers with a view to reaching consensus on adjustments to the current proposals in order to prepare the ground for a successful outcome to the next JNC meeting.

As a basis for discussion, UCU proposes the following:

  1. Adjustment to the accrual rate for the proposed CARE scheme to 1/65th plus 3/65ths lump sum. To reflect the adjustment in accrual rate, an increase in the contribution rates (proposed by the employers - July 2010) to a harmonised 7.5% for all scheme members. We are willing to enter further discussions on the basis of actuarial advice.
  2. UCU representatives will approve the rule changes proposed by the Trustee Company to mitigate the consequences of the new tax regime.
  3. The retention of existing rights to an unreduced pension on redundancy subject to a review to be completed by 2015. The review will include consideration of the requirements of the sector and affordability.

UCU accepts the adjustment proposed by the employers to:

  • increase the period of protection for re-joiners to 30 months
  • hard-wire CPI into the rules.

UCU requests:

  • Further consideration of instituting a flat-rate inflation cap of 10%
  • Further discussion on implementation of NPA focusing particularly on institutions with lower CPAs
  • Equitable arrangements for the sharing of future costs and savings.

5 May 2011 - Employers fail to respond to fresh proposals

From Sally Hunt, 5 May 2011:

'On 14 April UCU tabled fresh counter-proposals in yet another attempt to resolve the dispute.

'Our counter proposals would mean the employers giving up a small proportion of their savings from changes to the fund in order to help provide pensions of comparable value to now.

'These proposals have now been available to the employers for three weeks but without response - beyond that they consider dialogue on the proposed detrimental changes as at an end.

'The employers position seems to be to refuse to negotiate face to face with UCU; to refuse to work with ACAS to find a compromise; and to refuse to use any of the money they are saving to protect your pensions.

'At the same time, UCU's own negotiators - ordinary members just like you - face the threat of individual high court action if they refuse to attend a formal meeting on 10 May. At this meeting, the employers' changes, which we cannot agree, will be tabled once again and will mostly likely be passed by the chair using his casting vote, as he did last July.'

8 April 2011 - JNC postponed to allow UCU to make fresh proposals with a view to breaking the deadlock

From Sally Hunt, 8 April 2011:

'Late on Thursday [7 April], I received a letter from the USS Board's lawyers confirming that the Board was offering to postpone the next JNC until 10 May to allow us to make fresh proposals with a view to breaking the deadlock.
This is real testament to the pressure you brought to bear on your vice chancellors. We must be clear. The threat to our representatives has not been entirely lifted, but your actions have led to a rethink.
I welcome the fact that a space has opened up for further reflection and consideration, but we are under no illusions. It was membership pressure that brought us to this point and it will only be sustained membership pressure that determines how the dispute develops from here.'

7 April 2011 - pension champions threatened with High Court as university pension row escalates

Five members of UCU have been threatened with High Court action in a row over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension.

The individual UCU members sit on the USS joint negotiating committee as representatives for the 120,000 strong union. They have received a letter from DLA Piper, lawyers acting on behalf of the USS board, which says the board intends to hold them personally liable for costs.
UCU says its representatives took the decision not to attend a meeting where the employers had made it clear that they were not prepared to negotiate. The UCU representatives' belief was that the independent chair would again vote with the employers and their attendance would ensure the meeting was quorate and in effect rubber-stamp the changes.

Read the full story here

March 2011 - strikes over USS changes

UCU members in around 500 universities and colleges took strike action in the culmination of a week of action that saw five strike days. UCU members in 67 universities across the UK started the action on 17 March opposing changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension.

The action started in Scotland on 17 March and was followed by one-day stoppages in Wales on Friday (18 March), Northern Ireland (Monday 21 March) and England (Tuesday 22 March).

Catch up on Action 2011

63 universities to be hit with strike action this month as UCU announces strike dates

 (.pdf) file type icon Why we're striking over USS - leaflet (.pdf) [26kb]

10 March 2011 - USS changes deferred

In a letter dated 10 March 2011 USS have conceded that the planned changes cannot now take place as planned on 1 April due to the continuing impasse. (See below note on UCU attendance at JNC meetings.)

UCU is, of course, pleased that the changes are not coming in as planned and our position is that we now have a window to meet at ACAS or elsewhere for meaningful negotiations on the future of the fund.

 (.pdf) file type icon Proposed Scheme Changes - letter from USS, Mar 11 (.pdf) [49kb]

See also: University pension changes cannot be implemented without deal, warns leaked letter

Note on UCU's attendance at JNC meetings

The USS website states that UCU negotiators 'declined to attend' scheduled meetings on 2, 9 and 17 March. Indeed this is true. In the hours immediately prior to the 2 March meeting UCU asked the employers if they would continue to negotiate around the proposals and not use the 'independent' chair's casting vote to push the proposals through. They refused do this. Had UCU attended the meeting the employers' proposals would have been rubber-stamped. Therefore, although available to continue talks, our negotiators did not attend the scheduled meetings leaving them inquorate. UCU remains willing to negotiate with the employers at any time to agree a mutually acceptable deal and avoid an unnecessary dispute.

9 March 2011 - branch briefing - the impact on YOU

In this briefing, we set out three case studies, prepared by a respected actuary, alongside some personal testimony from some of our members - a reminder, if it were necessary, of why USS is so important to our members and of why it is so important that members support the strike action in defence of our pensions:

March 2011 - Employers turn down ACAS talks

Professor Brian Cantor, chair of the Employers' Pension Forum, has rejected UCU's request to continue talks, saying: 'we are not persuaded that it is appropriate to re-open formal negotiations, even with the involvement of Acas'. Sally Hunt has responded by reiterating the request to meet art ACAS: 'A macho stand-off is in no one's interests - least of all our students - and I urge you to reconsider your refusal to go to ACAS. You can read the full exchange of letters here.

Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, has also joined our call for the employers to meet us at ACAS:  (.pdf) file type icon NUS letter on USS ACAS talks, Mar 11 (.pdf) [175kb]

4 March 2011 - General secretary urges employers to meet at ACAS

UCU has called on the university employers to meet for urgent talks through the arbitration service ACAS to resolve the current dispute over changes to staff pensions. In a letter to the Employers' Pension Forum (EPF) UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said she would clear her diary to hold negotiations and avoid disruption at 63 UK universities planned for later this month:

3 March 2011 - Members vote for action

UCU members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme at 67 universities were balloted for strike action and action short of a strike. Taken overall, two-thirds (64.55%) of UCU members who voted, voted for strike action and over four-fifths (82.19%) voted for action short of a strike:

2 March 2011 - USS ballot closes

The ballot over taking action over the proposed USS changes closes 2 March 2011.

17 February 2011 - USS ballot opens

Ballot papers start getting sent out today.

10 February 2011 - Illustration of the loss under the proposed CARE scheme

UCU has produced a series of documents which show the loss to the members if the present proposals on CARE go ahead, in different situations:

7 January 2011 - Industrial action ballot planned

Members in pre-92 universities will be balloted for industrial action after the 20 January meeting of the USS board if the employers fail to withdraw their proposals, which were massively rejected by scheme members in a recent UCU online ballot (see next).

14 December 2010 - University staff overwhelmingly reject proposed pension scheme changes

Staff at UK universities have overwhelmingly rejected proposed changes from their employers to their pension schemes. In a ballot of over 31,000 people conducted by UCU, 96% said they did not support the employers' proposals to change the USS scheme:

8 December 2010 - Oxford University opens its own ballot in rejection of 'sham' pensions consultation process

The University of Oxford has today launched a ballot on proposed sweeping changes to the staff pension scheme. The move follows a vote by the university to ensure both sides of the argument around changes to the scheme are heard:

2 December 2010 - Oxford and Cambridge reject consultation process

Both Oxford and Cambridge universities have now rejected the current 'consultation' process, having demanded all USS members are sent both the employers' and UCU's  proposals and asked to vote for their preference, with the ballot result then being sent to USS in their university's response to the consultation:

University pension reform blow as Oxford and Cambridge reject consultation process

22 November 2010 - 2009-10 USS annual report

The annual report on the state of USS and how it's fared over the last 12 months has now been circulated. Among other things the report shows that the fund account took more in contributions that it paid out, and it started the year with £21.693.4m and ended at £30,197.9m - an increase of £8.504.5m:  (.pdf) file type icon USS annual report 2009-10 (.pdf) [1.5Mb]

USS - income and expenditure 2009-10 : extract from the USS annual report 2009-10

October 2010: UCU riposte to the Employers' Pension Forum briefing

20 October 2010 - Employers flawed consultation revealed

The higher education employers 'consulted' members on their changes - and their process was deeply flawed. Members should have received a 12 page booklet and were directed to a website where they could express their views on individual aspects of the changes as part of a 'narrative', in spite of the fact that the proposals form a complete package - not a 'pick and mix' of options.

UCU suggested that members responded to every question asked in the online consultation as follows:

'This proposal is part of an overall package which is detrimental to both existing and future members of USS, and which creates a highly divisive and damaging two tier benefits system. The challenges facing USS could be dealt with without reducing benefits by adopting the UCU proposals. My clear view is that the USS Board should listen to fund members, and not implement the employers' detrimental package of proposals.'

 (.pdf) file type icon 'The need for reform' A UCU perspective (.pdf) [46kb]

8 October 2010 - USS 'consultation' launches

'...I am writing to you today because I want to update you on the following urgent issues concerning your pension.

  • official consultation on USS pension change announced
  • explanatory booklet written by employers and USS without UCU input
  • staff views to be part of a 'narrative' but no vote say USS...'

read the full email here

21 September 2010 - UCU USS referendum opens

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary: 'As USS eligible members our voices must be heard. We have launched a referendum for all USS members, whether they are in UCU or not. This will give us the voice the employers are trying to ignore. UCU will respect the result whatever it is and I am today calling upon the employers to think again and do the same.'

15 September 2010 - TUC backs UCU action plans

Trade unionists at TUC's annual Congress in Manchester have given their backing to UCU's fight to stop 'draconian' changes to their pensions: TUC backs UCU's 'greatest' industrial action plans in pensions row

8 September 2010 - USS mention in general secretary email

'...The recent experience of members in the USS scheme certainly makes it clear what the employers' agenda is likely to be. In USS the employers are seeking to impose a two tier scheme with inferior benefits for new starters and the loss of final salary pension rights for the thousands at risk of redundancy unless they quickly return to work in the sector. These changes are to be railroaded in without a ballot of fund members after the employers disgracefully blocked UCU's proposal for a vote of all affected before negative changes are introduced. UCU will therefore be providing the opportunity for every USS member to have a say that has been denied them by the employers by running our own referendum for submission to the USS board.
'So, in my view, the threat to UCU and you - our members - is fundamental. My view is that we are very likely to have to ask every single one of you to take industrial action in defence of jobs and pensions during this academic year. In the meantime please continue to support your elected representatives who are doing a difficult job in very challenging times. Please also support our campaigns to defend TPS and USS benefits...'

Read the full email here

23 August 2010 - bonuses at fund value increase

Seventy-one investment staff at the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) shared bonus payments of £2.89m in the year to the end of March 2010. UCU said the revelations of the £40,000 average bonus payout raised further questions from staff being asked to increase their pension contributions and accept reduced benefits at a time when the fund's value had increased by billions.

£3m university pension payouts prompt fresh call for all-member ballot on reduced benefit plans

6 August 2010 - letter to HE institutions

UCU wrote on 5 August to the relevant institutional heads asking them to take certain actions related to the proposals to implement non-agreed changes to USS or we will consider a trade dispute to exist. A copy of the text of the letter along with a list of the institutions to which the letter has been sent has been circulated to all affected branches.

It is, of course, hoped that the employers will take the necessary action to avoid a trade dispute. Branches/LAs have been asked to call branch meetings to discuss the model motion circulated by UCU.

You can view the letter here.

Click here for earlier updates

22 July 2010 - Chair's casting vote forces changes through

In an unprecedented move, the chair's casting vote was used to force through the employers' proposals to 'reform' the USS scheme in July. The employers' proposals were further considered by the USS board on 22 July. Management representatives blocked proposals for an all-member referendum, arguing that a less robust consultation at institution level would suffice.

What happens next is that the trustee company (USS) must begin the consultation in September and close it sixty days later. The results of the consultation then have to be considered by various internal USS bodies, including the Joint Negotiating Committee. The intention is to introduce the changes with effect from 1 April 2011.

UCU will continue to campaign for referendums at institution level and we will hold our own referendum centrally if the employers are too afraid of the response they will get to do this.

Branches/LAs are reminded that UCU negotiators accepted that there was a need for change and, in a genuine attempt to reach agreement with the employers, proposed an increase in members' contributions, an increase in the retirement age for new entrants to the scheme and a cost-sharing mechanism should future increases be required. However, the employers seem determined to create a two-tier pension system as a step towards phasing out the final salary scheme and their objective of reducing what they contribute to the scheme.  If implemented, the employers' agenda will mean immediately:

  • lower annual pension increases
  • an increase in the normal pension age
  • the abandonment of a final salary scheme for new entrants, creating a two-tier pension scheme with future pressure on existing members
  • existing members who are at risk of redundancy or on fixed term contracts who have a break of 6 months or more in service will not be able to rejoin a final salary scheme
  • an increase in contributions for employees with no progressive proposals to make high earners pay more
  • removal of the right for individuals made redundant to take their pension unreduced.

In summary - the employers' proposals

UCU has a clear mandate to move to a ballot for industrial action should changes be made to the scheme which have not been agreed with us. We hope that by ensuring the consultation process is meaningful and by taking account of the responses then it will not prove necessary to move to a ballot for industrial action.

June 2010 - EPF refutation

In response to arguments put forward by the Employers' Pension Forum, UCU has published this refutation.

June 2010 - UCU proposals

The specification of the UCU proposals for changes to USS; this is the document that the July JNC had in front of it when the two proposals were voted on:

 (.pdf) file type icon UCU: A specification of proposals to change USS, Jun 10 (.pdf) [192kb]

May 2010 - UCU member consultative ballot

The university employers have tabled proposals to change USS that are an attack on your pension benefits. They would create a two-tier system of benefits and worsen retirement arrangements for existing members while saddling employees with benefit reductions and an unfair share of any future costs. This ballot contained two questions. UCU urged members to vote to SUPPORT the position taken by your UCU negotiators and defend USS as an affordable and attractive pension scheme, and to REJECT the employers' proposals.

Every UCU member who is eligible for USS membership could vote in this online consultative ballot. This was predominantly members in the Pre-92 universities and includes the small minority of staff in pre-92 institutions who are not yet members of USS but would be affected by the employers' detrimental proposals for new entrants.

UCU balloted members during May 2010 to find out what they thought about the employers' plans for changing USS and UCU's proposals.

Ballot results

Q1. Do you support UCU's negotiating position with regard to the USS pension scheme?
Yes         20,497 (96.62%)
No          717 (3.38%)
Q2. Do you REJECT the employers' current proposals for the USS pension scheme?
Yes         20,359 (96.16%)
No          815 (3.84%)

UCU consultation delivers record vote against 'two-tier' pension plans
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