USS under attack

Confidence and credibility

19 March 2018

The UCU general secretary has detailed UCU's response to Universities UK's announcement over the weekend that it will be reviewing the USS valuation.

'Many of you will have seen the announcement on Sunday by Universities UK (UUK) of an expert panel to look again at the valuation of USS,' she writes, reporting that UUK have said that the terms of reference and names of the experts will be announced shortly.

'UCU's position on this is quite clear,' she said. 'Of course we welcome any acceptance by UUK that the valuation should be looked at again. However for any such process to have the confidence of the sector, the panel and its terms of reference must be jointly agreed between UCU and UUK rather than imposed by one side on the other.

'a fait accompli on the part of UUK will enjoy no support within the sector and will make a bad situation worse''Equally importantly, if UUK now proposes to do this work the current round of cuts to pension benefits which are the immediate cause of this dispute must be removed so that a properly constituted panel can do its work.

'So, in a nutshell: UCU welcomes the belated recognition that there is a lack of confidence in the valuation; but any expert panel must be jointly agreed if the sector is to have confidence in it; and if the panel is to have any credibility the employers need to take the current pension cuts off the table.'

She once again reiterates that 'UCU remains open to talks on how best to do this,' but, she insists, 'a fait accompli on the part of UUK will enjoy no support within the sector and will make a bad situation worse.'

UCU members in seven institutions continue their action for the next two days and Sally reports that UCU is in detailed discussions with branches on the next phase of strikes if needed. 'The aim will be to disrupt the assessment season substantially', she says.

She also reminds members of the UCU call for you to consider resigning any external examiner posts held at institutions where UCU is in dispute. There is more information here.

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