New employer meetings begin

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt has written to USS members today to update them on the latest in the dispute over changes to the scheme.

Since the assessment boycott was suspended for talks on 13 November until 16 January following agreement by the employers not to push their detrimental proposals through, UCU has submitted a petition to the chair of the USS board calling for the board ‘to agree a fair method of valuation to reflect the underlying strength of USS’. This petition has been so far signed by more than 17,400 USS members and was also handed in at institutions around the UK.

The series of meetings agreed with the employers have now begun. In her message to members Sally Hunt reported:

With regard to the valuation of the fund, there has already been a meeting involving our negotiators and our actuarial advisors along with those of Universities UK (UUK) and USS itself. There was a full and frank exchange of views and UCU made it clear that we do not accept the basis upon which USS currently propose to value the fund. In this regard, the employers while broadly supportive of USS’s approach, have questioned the excessively prudent approach proposed.

As a result of our pressure, the USS board has agreed to delay a final decision on technical provisions funding. In theory at least, this provides more room for the employers to reconsider their detrimental proposals for scheme benefits and this is an opportunity we hope they decide to take. A further three meetings with the employers are planned between now and Christmas.

However, Sally also made it clear that ‘there remains significant distance between ourselves and the employers’ and ‘for the avoidance of doubt members and branches should prepare for the resumption of action on 16 January.’

Members should check their inbox for the full message.