Strike for USS - our response to the proposal from UUK
27 March 2018
On Monday 26th March a very well attended lunchtime meeting at UCL discussed the proposal from Universities UK.
In addition to messages from the UCL UCU Executive Committee, members had also seen Sally Hunt's email that morning in which she speculated UUK would refuse the inclusion of a 'no detriment' clause for members should changes need to be made in the current valuation round.
The current time-scale for this valuation round has three crucial dates:
• April 2018 - USS member consultation on any revisions to the scheme (required if proposing a detrimental change to scheme members)
• June 2018 - Following consultation and the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) and Trustee Board, the Pension Regulator would confirm any changes to thescheme.
• April 2019 - Changes to USS implemented.
The effect of the current proposal is that UUK would probably have to concede the April 2019 date unless the 'Independent Experts Group' (IEG) is a talking shop that met quickly, concluded and disbanded.
Were the amendment to the UUK proposal in Motion 2 accepted, it would guarantee the status quo in terms of benefits to members for a greater duration, up to the full three years of the valuation cycle. It would formally decouple the review of the valuation (or revaluation) of USS by the IEG fromany impact to members in the current valuation round.
After proposal speeches and a thorough debate, the motions were put to members (see longer separate page for motion text):
• Motion 3, that the UUK proposal be sent to members as-is, was put to the vote and fell, four to one against.
• Motion 1, no suspension or e-ballot without confirmation of regulatory acceptance, was passed with no opposition (a small number of abstentions).
• Motion 2, calling for the 'no detriment' amendment be put by UCU negotiators to the employers formally, was passed by a large majority.
Referring back to Sally Hunt's email, the view of the meeting was that it was extremely important to ensure that a 'no detriment' clause were properly negotiated over. There is sufficient time ahead of the examinations period to negotiate if the willingness on UUK's part was there.
Members also wanted clarity over some of the other ambiguous phrasing in the UUK proposal.
Our branch delegate to the Branch Briefing meeting on Wednesday 28th March and HEC member (Sean Wallis) will present members' views.
In addition, the meeting agreed to call an open meeting outside UCU Carlow Street HQ at 10:00 ahead of the Branch Briefing meeting, at which delegates and HEC members could meet each other and discuss face-to-face. This meeting will be open to all UCU members, and colleagues are welcome tojoin in the discussion.
UCL UCU Executive Committee
Postscript. UCU branches in some 11 Further Education colleges in London are on strike over pay this week. They welcome support from UCL UCU members at their picket lines, as they supported us during our strikes.