Goldsmiths UCU reacts to USS ballot

Motion on result of USS ballot, 16 April 2018

We recognise that members have voted to accept the offer from UUK and therefore to suspend the forthcoming strikes and programme of industrial action.

We do not believe that this reflects members’ faith in the employers’ commitment to sustaining existing levels of provision nor with any conviction that the employers’ underlying determination to reduce their pension liabilities has suddenly disappeared.

We do not believe that members have done so because they are confident that we have secured the guaranteed pensions to which we are entitled and for which we have fought so hard.

We do not believe that it signals that members are willing to accept anything less than a Defined benefit pension nor does it signal that we are no longer willing to take industrial action in pursuit of a decent pension.

We do not believe that the ‘yes’ vote is an endorsement of the notion that there is a pensions ‘deficit’ that needs to be filled nor is acquiescence to any future increase in employee contributions to meet an alleged deficit.

Instead, we believe that the ‘yes’ vote reveals a pride that we have pushed the employers to recognise our right to DB and that we should give the proposed Joint Expert Panel the opportunity to generate a valuation that will not lead to an inferior pension.

In this context, we believe that it is vital that activists in every branch continue to organise as we learned to do so powerfully during the strikes. We call on all members to:

  • Organise branch meetings to call for a Special Higher Education Sector conference, which can discuss how best to pursue the defence of our pensions and examine how effectively our internal structures have functioned;
  • Maintain the strike committees and staff-student forums established in recent months in order to campaign over issues casualisation, democratic governance and the financial priorities of our institutions;
  • Continue to campaign for Defined Benefit pensions, to scrutinise the work of the Joint Expert Panel and to insist on transparency and deadlines in its work such that we can start industrial action as and when necessary.

Passed overwhelmingly.