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Why you should vote 'no' in the UCU USS consultation

4 April 2018

For the following reasons UCL UCU Executive Committee recommend that you vote 'no' in the UCU online consultation 'e-ballot' over the UUK offer that begins today (closing 13 April).

  • Our industrial action has been effective. It has stopped the employers implementing their DC proposal and they have begun talking about a potential solution.
  • We are in a strong position. Future action in the summer term could hit exams and would exert further pressure on the employers. We can also ballot for further industrial action to hit new enrolments.
  • However, the offer itself falls far short of a commitment from the employers to protect pensions. It is highly ambiguous, and contains a number of potential traps, as set out in a recent post on our blog.
  • Demanding a commitment from the employers to make no change to the pension scheme for the current valuation round ('a no detriment clause') is achievable and would benefit the employers, staff and students. Other concrete commitments from the employers short of such a clause are also potentially achievable.
  • An independent expert panel is a positive step, but its deliberations should not be rushed. The best way to ensure this is for the employers to accept a 'no detriment' clause.

We therefore encourage members to vote 'no' in the USS consultation. Even if the vote is ultimately in favour of accepting, the larger the 'no' vote, the greater the pressure on employers during the interim, and the more likely it will be that we can restart industrial action should it prove necessary in the future when, as is highly likely, USS propose detrimental changes to the scheme.

If you are unsure, do join the debate and vote after you have heard contrasting views. To aid this debate, note that there are three meetings within the consultation period where you can meet colleagues to debate the issues further:

The General Meeting on 10 April is open to all members. This meeting can pass formal branch motions as well as propose motions to the national UCU conference.

Whatever you do, please remember to vote!

UCL UCU Executive Committee