USS: An update from Martin Williams and Richard Brooks

In our last communication we laid out the situation regarding the proposals on the USS pension scheme.

There appear to be two proposals which are some distance apart. The UCU proposal seeks to preserve pension benefits, but at significant cost to members of the scheme and their employers. The UUK proposal does not preserve the guaranteed benefits but also does not increase the cost for members or employers. Despite multiple meetings of the JNC over the last few months, the proposal going forward is not supported by the UCU members of the JNC. UCU is now undertaking industrial action in over 60 Universities.

None of us want this industrial action. It will disrupt our students’ education and creates tensions in the positive working environment we try to create in Universities. It is hard to see a way forward on this. The University considers the USS scheme is carrying too much risk and the increase in contributions would have challenging consequences. However that does mean a significant change to future benefits for members of the scheme.

The negotiations have clearly been challenging so far, and have involved considerable effort from all parties. We would like to commend all involved for their commitment to seeking a resolution. As part of the national discussions we are open to considering credible, affordable alternate solutions to this problem which will be better for employees and will have more manageable consequences for the University.

Martin Williams                                                                 Richard Brooks

Director of Finance                                                          Director of Human Resources

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