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Dates set for talks on future of pension scheme at heart of university strikes

8 January 2020

Five January dates have been set for meetings to look at reforming the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) - the pension scheme for members of the University and College Union (UCU) who took eight days' strike action before Christmas.

Representatives from the union, Universities UK and USS will attend meetings chaired 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, had called for meetings between the different parties.

UCU said its general secretary Jo Grady will attend on behalf of the union and UUK has said its chief executive Alistair Jarvis will attend. USS Group chief executive Bill Galvin will also attend, along with a representative from the USS Trustee Board.

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, with nine linked to USS.

UCU said the talks could help to avert further strikes - likely to hit universities in the spring - and were an opportunity to develop a fairer valuation process that could reduce costs for universities and USS members.

An update will be posted on the JEP website within seven days of each meeting. There may be more meetings, depending on progress, and the group will engage positively with The Pensions Regulator and involve them in discussions if appropriate.

The meetings will take place on:

  • Wednesday 15 January
  • Friday 17 January
  • Thursday 23 January
  • Monday 27 January
  • Wednesday 29 January

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'We are keen to get going with these talks and to work with all parties to look seriously at how we can reform USS. If we are to avoid further disruption at universities over USS then we all need to work together and look at issues like the valuation and the scheme's governance.'

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