Tim has asked us to invite all IWGB members to an all-staff meeting on pensions tomorrow – https://ucu.london.ac.uk/2018/03/20/22-mar-at-12pm-meeting-for-staff-pensions-dispute-update/

Please do come along if you can – it’s a good chance to get a full update on where we are now AND to ask any questions about what happens next!

I am also including his response (below) to the absurd USS email earlier this week – feel free to get back to me with any queries!



Dear Members,

You’ve no doubt seen the email  from USS which can only be taken as an attempt to undermine the valid reasons why we’ve been striking and ignores why we’ve had to reject the agreement proposed earlier last week. In short, they’ve cherry-picked three of a mountain of issues and claimed fake news because of technicalities.

I will be contacting you later in the week but I just wanted to let you know that this message changes absolutely nothing. I don’t think I can put it better than the Governing Body of The Queen’s College, Oxford:

The proposed agreement appears to have been negotiated within the constraints imposed by the recent valuation of the scheme’s deficit. To that extent, many will view it as akin to a rearrangement of deck-chairs on the Titanic. We welcome UUK’s efforts to establish an independent group to examine the valuation, and we also note the CEO of USS Ltd’s very recent comments on the funding position. He is undoubtedly correct to suggest that some aspects of the trustee’s position have been misunderstood; however, we nevertheless think there are legitimate concerns about the logic of the trustee’s ‘test 1’. These concerns are contributing to a widespread loss of confidence in the valuation, and there is a growing suspicion that the legislation in this area may be broken. We are certainly not convinced that a triennial valuation cycle, leading to what are now perceived as depressingly regular benefit reforms, is in anyone’s interests.

 We thus take the view that both UUK and USS are vulnerable to the criticism of approaching the current challenge the wrong way round: that is, it seems odd to contemplate such substantial benefit reform now when the calculation of the scheme’s deficit is the subject of legitimate enquiry and controversy. While we appreciate that the statutory deadline associated with the valuation is very near, we would hope that the Pensions Regulator might be pragmatic in its approach to the difficulties that have been encountered. Otherwise we face a potentially very damaging outcome that will be quite contrary to the interests of all parties, and manifestly at odds with the public policy considerations that underpin the relevant legislation.

All we’re saying is that UUK and USS had an opportunity to properly address the scheme this time around and they chose to squander it with frankly unscrupulous practices around surveying universities for questionable intentions to manufacture a result that would enforce this draconian measure on the quality of our retirement.

Please forgive me for my angry tone (angry for me, anyway) but there have been an good number of your colleagues who’ve sacrificed a lot to get the truth out.

All the best,