All out for USS

It's not too late! Universities UK can still commit to meaningful negotiations over pensions and end the strike action.

USS under attack

Update on employers' intransigence

12 December 2017

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt has today updated members in USS on the intransigence of the employers in their refusal to continue negotiations on the future of the scheme.

The Pensions Regulator has made clear that the December deadline being imposed by the employers to conclude talks is not fixed and that even the statutory deadline in June next year could see some slippage if it would lead to a 'better outcome'.

The full text of Sally's update is below:

Quotation In the last few days  I have made three different proposals to Universities UK (UUK) aimed at providing the time needed for serious negotiations about your pension. 

I regret to say that UUK's response, acting on behalf of your employer, is to continue to insist that it will not negotiate beyond 18 December. 

The employers are hiding behind the Pensions Regulator (tPR) even though tPR wrote on 7 December to state that this self-imposed deadline of 18 December is 'not within our remit' but rather is a matter for the stakeholders (e.g. UUK, UCU and USS). 

The tPR also stated in their letter that while they expect adherence to the statutory deadline of 30 June 2018 'we are mindful that in complex and late stage negotiations some slippage in timelines can lead to better outcomes.' 

It is just such a 'better outcome' that UCU is seeking on behalf of thousands of staff like you who as things stand will lose a substantial proportion of your retirement income. 

No doubt you will remember that UUK promised the press last month that they would 'soon' produce modelling on the impact upon staff of their proposals, yet these are still not forthcoming. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that UUK have done the calculations and that they confirm UCU's analysis that, taken side by side, the average member of staff would lose more than £200,000 from their retirement if these proposals went through. 

In my view it is the height of irresponsibility that UUK - acting on behalf of your employer - are prepared to invest so little into discussions which are crucial to so many staff. They won't even tell you how much they think you will lose from their proposals; they seem oblivious to the anger that staff feel. 

So where does all that leave us? 

Well, I do promise you that whatever the odds UCU will try, try and try again to persuade UUK to negotiate properly now and after 18 December. 

But if the current appalling proposal is imposed by UUK, UCU will immediately move to seek recompense directly from your employer for your pension loss. 

We will use any ballot mandate you give us to do this and the dispute will deepen, not dissipate until we get justice for staff. 

I have to say that it looks more than ever like it will take industrial action on an unprecedented scale to persuade the employers to engage properly. 

Well if that is what it takes, then that is what we are determined to do. 

There is a lot at stake. 

The union is your voice. 

Please use your vote.
Please persuade others to vote
Please support the union.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

PS. I am writing an FAQ on the dispute for later this week. Please send me any questions you have.

PPS. If you need to request a replacement ballot paper you can do so here.'

 

 

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