USS consultation latest

Members will have received communications recently about the USS’s consultation over proposed changes to our pension. The consultation is a requirement upon USS, and was originally deferred as a result of the outcome of the dispute earlier this year, when it was originally scheduled for June.

One of the important proposals that caused members to vote to freeze our dispute earlier this year, was the creation of the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) that would look into the pension valuation. We therefore recommend wait until the JEP reports before responding to the USS consultation. We will be in touch again once we have considered the implications of that report, with some recommended responses to the consultation.

Members who want begin to consider responding to the consultation, or wish to do so before the JEP reports, might wish first to read the recent UCU briefing for members on this issue. And perhaps read Sheffield UCU’s commentary on Twitter here.  The questions asked in the consultation cover:

  1. The removal of the 1% match
  2. Proposals over contributions above the salary threshold
  3. Increased contributions shared 35:65 between members and employees respectively
  4. The size of contribution increases under the cost sharing rule
  5. Any other comments

Recent insightful and informative contributions to the discussion include:

An article by Michael Otsuka considering the University of London’s SAUL pension scheme, which is identical in structure and investment context to USS, yet running a surplus for lower contributions.

A twitter thread by National USS negotiator Sam Marsh (University of Sheffield) who demonstrates from USS’s own statistics that our ‘deficit’ is a direct product of de-risking (cancel the de-risking and the scheme would be in £11Bn surplus).

In relation to that last thread, you may be interested to sign a petition calling for full transparency from USS.

A recent article in the Times Higher (by the former governor of the Bank of England and a prominent economist / investment officer of an Oxford college) which debunks the ‘deficit’ and says that the USS is perfectly healthy (unpaywalled version here).  Sam Marsh focusses on choice aspects of that article here.

Members will be interested to know that our own Branch Secretary, Gholam Khiabany, has been elected on to the National Dispute Committee which has been set up to scrutinise the conduct of the dispute and to provide accountability that has been sorely lacking up to this point.

(with thanks to Leeds UCU whose post provided the basis for this update)