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UCU response to BBC's pension story

25 October 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

The USS pension fund provides a vital benefit and is highly valued by university staff.

UCU is strongly committed to ensuring the financial stability of the fund and has worked with university employers in recent years to deliver negotiated changes to help secure the scheme.

Next year's triennial valuation will be the next stage in this ongoing process and provide a more accurate picture of the scheme's health.

The deficit does fluctuate enormously and that is why March's valuation will provide a far more accurate picture. For example the scheme's deficit fell by almost £4bn between March and June this year with the scheme going from 77% funded up to 83% funded.

USS is not alone in having to deal with funding issues; similar issues are facing other defined benefit schemes throughout the UK.

A joint funding and benefits group of employer representatives and UCU was established in 2012. The group's remit includes the need to take account of the funding position of USS and its objective is to secure an attractive, affordable and sustainable scheme for members and employers in the long term.

Through this group the process is already under way for discussions between the employers and UCU and they are expected to run up to and beyond the March 2014 triennial valuation.