We’ve received a number of questions from members about changes to USS pension scheme and negotiations surrounding these changes.
Universities UK (UUK), which represents the USS institutions in these negotiations, recognises that institutions have the ability to pay extra in order to safeguard existing benefits. However, so far they have said that this is not an option and, unless we can change their minds or persuade both UUK and USS itself to adjust their valuation methodology, detrimental change is inevitable.
Some employers have even signalled that they wish to move wholly to a scheme in which your pension income will be dependent on what returns if any there are from the investment of your contributions in the stock market – in essence, a pension with no guarantees.
UCU urges members to stand up for all staff and help us to protect your interests in the fund rather than look away while benefits are cut.
Be in no doubt that we will endeavour to solve this difficult dispute but if we need to seek your support for action it is good to know that you are with us in such large numbers. (86.6% of members who voted said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend USS pension benefits on a turnout of 55.8% of those eligible.)
UCU and UNISON have consistently raised concerns around outsourcing since the Facilities Management contracts were tendered. Following the successful campaigns by UNISON and UCU at LSE and SOAS the Senate House branches of these unions have increased their efforts and have been involved in discussions with University of London management regarding the feasibility of returning the outsourced workers to University employment. This process has required a great deal of discretion and the University has been persuaded to continue to engage in these discussions despite some unhelpful interventions over the summer like the serious breaches of health and safety which occurred on the 27th September.
We have been encouraged by these discussions and the University will be making a more substantive announcement about a review of the Facilities Management contracts in which all options will be considered in the next few days.
If you work at the University of London and are affected by this or you know someone who is, we would like to hear from you. Please contact UNISON or UCU branch representatives, or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
UNISON and UCU Senate House Branches want to repeat our stated position that the University of London should seek to end outsourcing and bring existing outsourced staff back in-house.
We ask the University to look at the examples set by LSE and SOAS following discussion with Unison at those institutions, which resulted in positive outcomes for outsourced staff at both these Universities.
We call upon support from our members to make this happen.
As you may be aware, the University of London has decided to review the Quality Standards and Governance Department in the University of London International Programmes.
UCU and UNISON have been involved in the discussion with Mr. Craig O’ Callaghan and Dr. Mary Stiasny and we are aware of the proposed reviews for Marketing, Executive Office, and Global Engagement departments in UoLIA.
The review has been requested by the University’s Member Institutions to find out whether they are getting value for money. Our understanding is that this is not a cost-reduction exercise and there is no suggestion of staff redundancies.
UCU and UNISON will work hard to ensure that these reviews are transparent and fully involve the staff in these departments and ensure that they have the opportunity to submit evidence.
We will not accept the validity of any review which fails to respect these core principles. Above all else, we will oppose vigorously any compulsory redundancies (if these are proposed at any stage).
Report on the cost of living allowance salary – survey result;
Departmental news: UoLIA, Cosector;
Any other business.
We recommend that you attend the meeting to discuss and voice any concerns relating to work. We are happy to take this forward on your behalf. Tea, Coffee and biscuits will be provided. All current UCU members and staff who would like to join the UCU are welcome.