While the announcement on Friday night that UCU would meet with Universities UK (UUK) tomorrow (Tuesday 27 February) is good in principle, UUK’s accompanying press release suggests they are potentially not yet ready to make a meaningful concession.
UUK offer that a collective defined contribution pension scheme could be a viable alternative to one based on defined benefits. This may or may not be the case, but if this option isn’t even possible under UK law (which it isn’t), it’s a non-starter – we have to therefore wonder whether UUK are even acting in good faith by making this suggestion.
We want talks that tackle the real issue. Talks that acknowledge that our scheme’s supposed deficit is based on an assumption (all universities go bankrupt at once) that will never materialise. Talks where UUK find a way to make defined benefits work.
Meanwhile, a few members from UCU’s Senate House branch took part in a lunchtime demonstration with around 500 colleagues and students to express feelings about the issue. Here’s a photo: