SUCU Branch News 25 Sept 2014

Industrial action – USS ballot starts 1 Oct

Delegates at the Special USS Conference last Friday discussed the threats to the USS pension scheme and the UCU negotiators’ recommendation to ballot for industrial action.   The Conference agreed to a ballot for industrial action, to be taken if agreement can’t be reached. The ballot will start next Wednesday 1st October and close on Monday 20 October.

The Universities UK proposal would mean a reduction of thousands of pounds in the annual pension for most members, and indications are that further erosion of the scheme would follow. The proposal is:

  • Closure of the final salary section of USS, with all final salary scheme members forced into the inferior career average scheme
  • A £40,000 earnings cap above which even the career average scheme will not apply
  • A grossly inferior new ‘defined contribution’ (money purchase) pot for salary above £40k, with a lower employer contribution, the income from which would depend upon ‘investment performance’.

Your union’s message is:

  • The huge ‘deficit’ is artificial – USS is healthy and growing. The USS projections involved are contested by UCU and we believe the employers’ proposals are a deliberate overreaction.  Since 2011, the fund’s investments have grown by £8bn.  Returns on investment have outperformed both average earnings and inflation.
  • If the Employers are allowed to introduce a defined contribution scheme then indications are that they would soon end all guaranteed benefits.  We know this from experience.  We predicted that they would propose ending the final salary scheme once they got the inferior career average scheme in place, and now they are.  We predict they will do the same with the grossly inferior ‘money purchase’ scheme if they get away with introducing it.  This must be stopped.

Click here for more information from UCU, and this flyer gives detailed information about what the threats mean and why they aren’t necessary.


A few examples of how typical career pathways will be affected.


Times Higher article – USS reforms seen as ‘radical attack’ on pensions

 FE members in England to strike on Tuesday 14 October  

UCU’s further education committee (FEC) met last Friday (12 September) to consider an e-ballot of members in English colleges where 85% of those who voted chose to reject the 1% final pay offer for 2014/15. Following significant discussion regarding the level of turnout in the member consultation, the legality of taking action and of all available options, FEC voted in favour of calling on FE members in England to take strike action on Tuesday 14 October 2014. Members will be joining colleagues in other public sector unions, providing opportunity for coordinated regional rallies and demonstrations. Full report and latest FE News here.

 Regional UCU coach to TUC Britain needs a pay rise demo, London, 18 Oct 2014

UCU HQ can fund a coach for our region to this important demonstration.  Plans are being finalised but the intention is for the coach to pick up in York, Leeds and Sheffield.  A leaflet and further details will be forwarded soon.

 Stand up to UKIP demo in Doncaster (at UKIP conference),27 Sept 2014  

More information..