23 March: response by the Vice Chancellor to our second open letter

Our branch chair Tim Hall wrote to Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of London, on 20 March to establish the University’s position in the ongoing USS pension dispute.

This morning, Tim received the following response.

“Dear Tim,

First let me say that I am pleased our gesture of goodwill on spreading strike deductions has been received in the good faith in which it was offered.

I welcomed the announcement that an expert panel will be convened to consider the valuation of the USS pension scheme.  I have read and entirely support the open letter published this week by Professor Ed Byrne the President and Principal of Kings and our Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and I shall be writing to UUK to add my voice to his. In particular I agree that all involved should endeavour to ensure that the composition of the Independent Review panel and its terms of reference are acceptable to both parties.

Despite the rejection of the proposal brokered by ACAS , I was encouraged by the evident commitment of both sets of negotiators to seek to retain an element of DB.  I acknowledge that the proposal did not go far enough to address the concerns of some of your members.  I do very much hope however that further talks will build on this commitment and lead to a mutually agreeable proposal. 

As I am sure you will appreciate, I keep myself informed about the details of the dispute and I note the other points you raise.

Adrian Smith”

We welcome the recognition by Sir Adrian that the proposal brokered by ACAS on 12 March was inadequate, and that UCU and UUK should jointly agree the remit and membership of a review panel to re-consider September 2017’s valuation.

While planning for a wave of industrial action for later this spring is underway at this branch, we maintain that strike action is a last resort.