A few days ago, a UCU member received the following message of support from a colleague at the University of Brighton. The majority of staff at post-92 universities are not eligible for membership of USS, and instead join the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).
“I’m writing to express my support and solidarity in your industrial action to defend the USS pension scheme that is due to begin in the morning. As a UCU member in a post-92 university, like most of my colleagues I’m not in USS but in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme which is run on a different basis, retains the principle of defined benefit, and crucially is guaranteed by the State. Your fight for similar security in your own pension arrangements is a matter of fundamental justice that concerns all of us in the union, and has profound implications for the future of our profession and for the kind of institution that the university is and will be. This attack on the USS pension scheme, if successful, would have devastating consequences with a particularly strong impact on younger colleagues who are already bearing the brunt of austerity. And the very future of the union itself is at stake as it takes a stand to fight and reverse this disgraceful and callous decision, which is unfortunately so typical of the employers’ denigratory attitude towards academic and other university staff in recent times. Those are the reasons why I shall be joining the nearest picket line tomorrow, contributing to the strike support fund, and doing what I can to help us win this industrial action.”