UCU delivers petition to university pension scheme meeting

4 December 2014 | last updated: 4 April 2019

A petition with over 16,000 signatures was delivered to the board of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) at their meeting at the glamorous BAFTA offices by members of the UCU's negotiating team this morning.

UCU delivers USS petition, 4 Dec 2014 Each box represents over 2,000 signatures Thousands of academics and academic-related staff across the UK have signed the petition calling on the board of the USS pension scheme to agree a fair method of valuation to reflect the underlying strength of USS.

Both the employers' representatives and the union this week raised doubts about the scheme's risk framework.

UCU wrote to university heads on Tuesday saying the union did not accept that the USS board had taken a sensible approach to the valuation, and that it felt USS have been "recklessly prudent".

UCU has consistently challenged the excessively cautious approach by USS. UCU said it wanted to develop a pension scheme which ensures all eligible existing and future staff benefit from a decent pension.

Also this week, the universities umbrella group Universities UK said it had concerns about "the overall level of prudence that is being assumed in the valuation process" and blamed the USS's "excessive prudence" for a number of universities challenging their methodology and assumptions adopted.

UCU and UUK will have a series of talks before the next meeting of the joint negotiating committee on Thursday 15 January to try and close the gap between their current different positions on how best to reform the pension scheme.

UCU head of negotiating, Michael MacNeil, said: 'USS is being attacked from all sides over the methodology of its valuation and assumptions. We have said from the beginning that its excessively prudent approach forced unnecessarily radical proposals being put forward to alter the scheme.

'We hope now that both sides can sit down and work to find a situation that ensures all staff benefit from a decent guaranteed pension income and the scheme remains attractive to new joiners.'

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