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UCU response to pension scheme proposals from USS board

9 May 2019

UCU has said it will be members who ultimately decide the next steps in the dispute over the future of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

The union was responding to proposals from the USS board that will now be considered by UCU and Universities UK (UUK) at formal Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) meetings. None of the proposals from the USS board satisfy the union's "no detriment" policy, which states members' benefits should not be reduced and their contributions should not rise.

The union said it will push its policy of no detriment in those meetings and that members will have the final say on any proposal that comes out of the JNC. The next scheduled JNC is Friday 17 May and the union's higher education sector conference meets at the end of May to discuss the dispute and when any ballot of members is likely to be called.

The USS pension dispute saw universities brought to a standstill at the start of last year as UCU members took unprecedented levels of industrial action to force universities to abandon plans to scrap their guaranteed retirement benefits.

UCU head of higher education Paul Bridge said: 'We have come a long way from the start of this dispute when we faced the end of the guaranteed pension at a cost to members of around £200,000 over the course of their retirement. While the union has made substantial progress in terms of avoiding the very large increases originally proposed by USS, none of the three options satisfy the union's no detriment policy position.

'Once there is a clear proposal it will need to be considered by UCU and UUK within the JNC where we will press our policy of no detriment. It will then be for our members to decide what happens after proposals emerge from the JNC negotiations.'

Last updated: 10 May 2019