Update on latest talks

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt has written to members affected by the USS dispute to update them on the latest talks held on 13 November.

She reported that the current boycott is being strongly supported across the country ‘and it is against that backdrop of strong union action in support of our negotiating strategy that the meeting finally saw some progress in three key areas’. These are:

  • the employers agreed not to press their proposals to a vote
  • a series of formal and informal negotiating meetings have been agreed between now and the next joint negotiating committee meeting on 15 January 2015
  • tripartite agreement was reached that actuaries representing UCU, UUK and USS should meet to discuss the funding position.

The employers also indicated that if UCU agreed to suspend the action until the meeting on 15 January then, contingent upon sensible agreement on clearing any backlog, no money would be docked from members who had participated in the action so far.

UCU’s Higher Education Committee will now be meeting on 19 November to consider UCU’s response.

You can read the full jointly agreed statement below; members should check their emails for the full message from the general secretary.

Please note that at present the industrial action continues and that members should observe the boycott in full.

The union has also now produced an online modeller so you can see the individual impact of the employer’s current proposals.


The JNC held today noted that both UUK and UCU had submitted negotiating position papers but did not regard the current iteration as their final positions. Accordingly, no proposals were submitted to vote at the meeting.

The parties have agreed to a series of negotiating meetings between now and the next scheduled JNC to be held on 15 January 2015. The purpose of these meetings is to close the differences between the stakeholders’ negotiating positions, with a view to reaching agreement. This will include a meeting between the respective actuaries of the USS Trustee Board, UUK, and UCU.

With the aim of encouraging productive discussions, UUK and UCU agree to consult their constituent structures on the prospect of suspending the current industrial action from 20 November 2014 until after the JNC scheduled for 15 January 2015.

The consultation will be concluded by 19 November. The intention of the consultation is to consider whether the parties are able to reach agreement that a suspension of industrial action at this early stage will mean that no member of staff will have had pay deducted and students will not have been adversely affected. This is on the basis that, at this point, institutions will not have found it necessary to apply their policies to withhold pay for the assessment and marking boycott and that individual members of staff who were participating in the industrial action will have been able to remedy, within a reasonable time scale, any backlog of work that actually resulted from the industrial action between 6 to 20 November.