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Joint talks announced on future of Universities Superannuation Scheme

23 December 2019 | last updated: 6 January 2020

Talks will take place at the start of the new year to look at the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) - the pension scheme for UCU members who took eight days' strike action earlier this term in disputes over pensions and over pay and conditions.

UCU welcomed the news that Universities UK (UUK) and USS will meet with the union at talks facilitated by the chair of the USS Joint Expert Panel (JEP) Joanne Segars. The recent second report from the JEP, looking at the valuation process of USS and the scheme's governance amongst other things, had called for a process of meetings between the union, UUK and USS.

The union said that the talks offered a real opportunity to deliver a fairer valuation process, that could reduce costs for universities and members, and could help avert further strikes likely to hit universities in spring.

UCU said there was an urgent need to address the high numbers of people leaving the scheme and that improving the governance of USS was an important step in rebuilding trust and confidence amongst members and potential members.

Senior members of the organisations including UCU general secretary Jo Grady, UUK chief executive Alistair Jarvis and USS Group chief executive Bill Galvin will attend the talks. Full dates and details will be announced after Christmas.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The second JEP report stressed the importance of all parties coming together to shape the 2020 valuation and to tackle issues of governance with the scheme and I look forward to getting on with the talks in the new year. If we are to avoid further serious disruption at universities over USS then all parties need to work on these key issues.

'Members have made it clear that they have little confidence in the scheme at present and that they should not be made to pick up the cost of extra contributions arising from previous valuations. We need to address those concerns and look at how to deliver a fairer and more sustainable valuation process.'

UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight days of strikes between Monday 25 November and Wednesday 4 December. Members at 46 universities are in dispute over the USS pension scheme and there are ballots running at another 25 universities, nine linked to USS.

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