UCU ballot on industrial action
8 February 2018
The University and College Union (UCU) has notified UCL that industrial action will commence on 22 February.
UCU has notified UCL that strike action will take place on the following days:
- Week 1: Thursday and Friday 22 - 23 February
- Week 2: Monday – Wednesday 26 - 28 February
- Week 3: Monday – Thursday 5 - 8 March
- Week 4: Monday – Friday 12 - 16 March
The Council and Senior Management Team (SMT) have unanimously agreed that 100% of pay will be withheld from staff for any days when they are taking part in full strike action. Pay will be deducted at a rate of 1/365ths (pro rata) in these circumstances. This is now the norm in the sector for calculating a day’s work. UCL also reserves the right to deduct up to 100% of pay for partial performance of duties, in terms of Action Short of a Strike (ASOS), whilst taking into account the impact on the university’s performance and/or commitment to its students. Deductions will be paid into the Student Hardship Fund.
Advice for students has been published, and will appear in the next edition of myUCL.
A new guidance document for USS members has been produced to give a clear overview of what the changes mean for individuals:
At UCL, 57% of UCU members voted in the ballot (89% of whom were in favour of strike action and 94% voted in favour of Action Short of a Strike). The UCU is in dispute with employers nationally over changes to the USS Pension Scheme.
The 2017 valuation of the USS pensions fund identified that the USS deficit has risen to around £7.5 billion and the future cost of providing the current benefits has risen by over a third. In this context, it is clear that the scheme cannot continue as it is.
Universities UK (UUK) put forward a proposal to reform the future benefits structure, which would include a move to offering the ‘Defined Contribution’ (DC) scheme to all employees, freezing the ‘Defined Benefits’ (DB) scheme, and maintaining death and incapacity benefits as Defined Benefits. Benefits accrued before any change is introduced would remain unaffected and are protected in law.
The USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) voted yesterday in favour of the UUK proposal. The vote was determined by the casting vote of the JNC Chair. A 60 day consultation will now be held with all members from 19 March 2018 on the possible impact of these changes on individuals. Any changes would not come into force until 1 April 2019 and would apply to future benefits only. The statement issued by UUK is available on their website.
Find out more about the proposal:
We appreciate that this would be a significant change to the scheme and we are committed to providing all staff affected with advice and support. A town hall meeting has taken place and another has been arranged for 01 February, and this will be live streamed. In addition members on the waiting list have been invited to submit questions in advance to ensure that their main concerns are addressed. We would encourage all staff to engage with the town hall and the consultation process.
UCU provided a counter proposal, which would have involved additional member contributions of 2.9% of salary. It would also have required an increase to the employer contribution of 5.5% (following increases from 14% to 18% in the last eight years).
We will keep you updated.
Fiona Ryland, Executive Director of Human Resources