SUCU Branch News 22 Jan 2015
USS: Defending our pensions
SUCU Committee recommends that members vote ‘No’
SUCU Committee believes that the current ‘potential agreement’ offer represents a major cut in pensions. The offer accepts the parameters of the huge fake projected deficit, and cuts pensions to fill this gap. As well as ending Final Salary, it concedes the principle of a Defined Contribution element for contributions over £55,000 that allows the Employer to cut their contributions to 12%, provides members with no certainty about the value of their pension and paves the way for future concessions.
SUCU Committee therefore calls on all members to vote to reject the offer.
Members on the UCU Higher Education Committee who believe the proposed USS deal is completely unacceptable have sent this message for all members.
What about our motion sent requesting a Special Sector Conference?
If 20 branches require a Special Conference then it must be called. This is the mechanism for the membership to get back in charge of the dispute. We believe that more than 20 branches submitted motions like our own but the conference is not being called. HQ has told us ours has been accepted but are refusing to say which branches have submitted such motions and which have been rejected and why. Nevertheless we are hopeful that the 20 can be reached – for instance Nottingham just passed the motion this week.
Decoding the jargon: Defined Benefit v Defined Contribution
Defined Benefit means that you know what benefits you’ll get when you retire. So both of the current schemes (‘Final Salary’ and ‘Career Average’) fit this – you have a clear idea what pension you’ll be getting when you retire.
Defined Contribution means that what you put in is defined, but not what pension you’ll get out, as it all depends on the vagaries of the markets. Shockingly, many people’s pension ‘pots’ are far smaller than the money put in over many years. The employers (and the City of London) obviously love this as all the risk is on you. Heads they win, tails you lose. Also as there is no definite end value the contribution from you or the employer is arbitrary. If an employer decides to cut their contribution from say 15% to 5% they can (and very many companies have).
The employers want to introduce a Defined Contribution pension for earnings above £55,000.
So why is that such a big deal as most of our pensions will still be Defined Benefit? Because there can be very little doubt that if we allow any element of Defined Contribution into USS the employers will want to grow it, until we have no Defined Benefit scheme left. That’s why it’s vital you vote ‘No’.
USS will be discussed at the next Branch Meeting Wed 28 Jan 1pm and members are encouraged to attend.
Branch Meeting for all members next Wed 28 Jan 1pm
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