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UCU members vote to accept the UUK offer...

April 2018: In line with the decision of members the union will suspend its immediate industrial action plans but keep our legal strike mandate live until the agreement between UCU and UUK is noted by USS.

Please read the full message from the general secretary here.


UCU members to vote on action to defend pension scheme

UCU's higher education committee has agreed to launch an industrial action ballot in the dispute over the future of USS. They have said serious and sustained industrial action is required in the face of damaging proposals from the employers which would effectively destroy the pension scheme.

Information The postal strike ballot will open on Wednesday 29 November.

Important Please check your preferred postal address is up-to-date.

Your pension is under attack

  • The employers want to end guaranteed pension benefits.
  • They say your final pension should depend on how your 'investments' perform and not on your contributions.
  • We say it's wrong to risk our members' futures.

Last chance to save your pension.
VOTE YES to strike action.
VOTE YES to action short of a strike.


The Universities Superannuation Scheme: behind the recent headlines (spoiler alert – it’s not all doom and gloom!)

There have been some gloomy headlines about the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) recently. For example, the FT claimed that USS’s annual report and accounts for 2016-17 show that its deficit has “soared” to £17.5bn. But the outlook for USS is much better than such media coverage suggests. In its response to the recent headlines, UCU pointed out that now is the time for calm reflection. We believe the scheme is fundamentally sound and that, by standing together, we can defend USS against those who seek to talk it down for their own purposes. USS certainly faces challenges, but much recent coverage has been alarmist. As USS’s Chief Executive pointed out in the annual report, the reported deficit of £17.5bn “is based on accounting rules and is not the figure that drives the benefit and contribution decisions for the scheme”. 

In fact, USS performed very well over the last year. The scheme invests in a wide range of assets and achieved 20% investment growth. It now has assets in excess of £60bn. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that USS will need to dip into those assets in the foreseeable future. First Actuarial have modelled estimates of USS cash flow and found that, on the basis of the scheme continuing to operate as it does now, more money would be paid into USS by active members and their employers than would be paid out in pensions every year until at least the early 2080s.

For me, therefore, now is the time to talk-up USS. The scheme has and will, with care, continue to serve us well. Its Retirement Builder (defined benefit) sections will pay us a pension based on our earnings, not on how fortunate our investment decisions have been. The tone of recent media coverage suggests that USS cannot continue in its current form, but that tone is being set by people who are hostile to the principles on which USS is based. Those principles, and the Retirement Builder section of USS, are important to our future security. They are worth defending against those who talk them down for their own ends. With reason and solidarity, we will prevail.


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