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Proposed USS pension reforms

Why is there a need for reform?

Employers across UK higher education are proposing reforms of the USS pension scheme, following an independent actuarial valuation in 2014 that has estimated a shortfall of between £8 and £11 billion. The USS Trustees have a primary responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient funds available to pay the pensions already promised and to ensure that future benefits are adequately funded. The USS Trustees have been informed by the Pensions Regulator, a statutory body, that they must come up with a robust financial plan, which is both satisfactory and feasible to them, and which addresses the future funding of USS. Please see the UCL Pensions Website for up to date information.

What is the process for negotiating these reforms?

The Employer (UUK) and Union (UCU) representatives on the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) have been meeting to discuss the latest findings from the schemes actuary on the fund deficit and to negotiate proposals on changes to the benefit structure going forward.

The Chair of the JNC has indicated that negotiations on the detail of the change are to be concluded at a final JNC meeting on 29 January 2015, where a vote will be taken on the changes, and proposals submitted to the Trustees.

Industrial action

UCL believes that UCU’s recent notification of action short of a strike, in the form of a marking and course assessment boycott, commencing on 16 January 2015, is premature, given that final decisions have not been taken. We would urge staff not to take action, which is aimed at harming student’s progression. UCL takes the risk of disruption to students very seriously, and would take all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on students. UCL does not accept partial performance from staff. Read more for the impact on staff taking action and the requirement to register if you are taking action.