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UCU: UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION

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Update on USS Ballot

6 April 2018

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This is to remind you that an electronic consultative ballot is taking place on whether to accept the UUK offer on the USS Pension scheme. This ballot closes on the 13 April.

On Tuesday 10 April, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre 1-2pm, there will be a General Meeting open to all members. We will debate the offer and we will also handle business for UCU's national conference, Congress. We will send more information about Congress business in a separate email. So if you are unsure as to which way to vote, you can come to the General Meeting and discuss the UUK offer.

We would also advise voting after 11th April when the Joint Negotiating Committee of USS meets to decide on their next steps. Additional information is always useful and we will report that to members. Specifically, if they decline to agree to certain provisions UUK have agreed to then the deal is off and colleagues should unconditionally vote no!

Our email on Wednesday set out some reasons why your Branch Executive Committee are advocating that members vote no. We are not alone. The following UCU branches have so far taken this position for similar reasons: UCL Institute of Education, Keele, Strathclyde, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bath, Goldsmiths, SOAS, Kent, Salford, Kings College London, Herriot Watt, Lancaster, QMUL, Newcastle, Brunel, Exeter, Leeds, and Ruskin College.

This is in addition to branches and regions that have voted explicitly to endorse a ‘no detriment’ clause and so to reject the deal (this includes UCU Scotland).

In fairness, two branch executive committees have explicitly advised members to vote yes (Loughborough and Glasgow), and three have explicitly declared no position (Imperial, Manchester and Cardiff).

There has been recent, and unprecedented, communication from UCU advocating a vote for the proposal in the middle of an ongoing ballot, despite the elected Higher Education Committee of UCU not agreeing to recommend the offer to members. We leave it to your judgement on reading relevant information.

Here is a resource site that contains briefings for UCU members on both sides of the argument, https://medium.com/ussbriefs. It was set up and is run by rank and file academic experts on the issues at hand, in response to an information vacuum on industrial action. If in doubt, please read!

Your Branch Executive’s advice is in line with successive UCL UCU Branch meetings (formal and informal) that have mandated us to fight for the status quo for your pension. Yet the offer as it stands secures no guaranteed minimum provision we can rely on. Therefore members should vote no.

We will be having a General Meeting open to all members of the branch this coming Tuesday 10 April, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre 1-2pm, to discuss the ballot and the dispute to save our pensions. We would warmly encourage as many members of UCU as possible to attend.