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Taking action in higher education

UCU response to university pensions report

18 October 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today warned that attempts to shift the burden of risk on to members of the higher education pension system and force them to contribute more would be seen by many as a real terms cut in their pay and conditions.

Responding to a report commissioned by Universities UK, the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association and GuildHE looking at the future sustainability and affordability of pension arrangements in UK higher education, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We believe that the Universities' Superannuation Scheme (USS) has served the sector well since its inception in 1974. Common sense dictates that employers and unions take time to consider the future needs of the higher education sector and to ensure that pension provision reflects the needs of the entire workforce.

'We are willing to consider negotiating future changes in pension provision that provide affordable, secure and stable pension provision. Members of the USS see their pension contributions as deferred salary and the pension provision as part of their remuneration packet. Although it is still early days, there must remain a dialogue with the union as the Employers Pension Forum defines more closely what options they are considering.'

The USS pension scheme is the principal pension scheme designed for staff in UK universities and certain other higher education and research institutions and has over 390 participating institutions.