USS dispute regains pace ahead of 7 Nov UCU HE sector conference

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There have been at least six important developments since the Joint Expert Panel released its report. These include:

1. UUK have consulted employers on JEP recommendations. We understand that the University of London supports JEP recommendations for resolving 2017 valuation (maintaining DB benefit levels with a small contribution increase).

2. Evidence by credible figures within UCU that the 2017 valuation can be resolved without any detrimental changes to benefits or contributions.

Read: “USS valuation rests on a large and demonstrable mistake“, Michael Otsuka

3. The new UCU USS National Dispute Committee (NDC, for short), established following discussion and voting by UCU members (including delegates from this branch!) at the May’s Congress and June’s special HE sector conference met for the first time. A report from their first meeting has been published by UCU and will be considered by UCU’s Superannuation Working Group, and it’s well worth a read.

According to one of our long-standing branch members, the NDC’s report is “hard hitting and to the point…calling for an apology and reimbursement of lost earnings on the basis that the dispute need never have happened“.

4. USS has now indicated, subject to being satisfied with the position reached by the employers, that it would be prepared to hold a fresh valuation which would enable the scheme to take account of JEP and its aftermath.

5. The next step for UCU is that the Higher Education Committee (HEC) will this week consider the latest position including the reports of Superannuation Working Group and the National Disputes Committee (NDC) which is the body that advises the SWG.

6. A delegate conference on USS will then take place on 7 November. A representative from the Senate House branch and will consider and vote on finalised motions. Unfortunately, the draft motions are not available at the moment but we will consult members (before 7 Noc) if input around the next stages of the dispute is required.

Conclusions for today

1. USS dispute is not over and, that even following the publication of JEP, there are a number of important considerations to be taken before UCU determines its negotiating position.

2. We have come a very long way in 12 months. Last November, UUK proposed to close USS defined benefit scheme – this is not on the table now. This is significant progress for UCU and is evidence union-coordinated resistance to change works.

As ever, please get in touch with the branch committee with questions and comments.