UCU, UUK urged to resume negotiations over USS concerns
Imperial College London and the University College Union (UCU) branches of Imperial have issued a joint statement urging the UCU and Universities UK (UUK), which represents the employers of the Universities Pension Scheme (USS) , to resume negotiations.
Universities have faced a strike over the past month in light of concerns over the UK’s proposed changes to the USS, with a new vote for more strikes also underway.
However, the joint statement called on both UUK and UCU to resume negotiations, arguing that “a sustainable and long-term vision for the future of our retirement is essential and will only be possible if all parties work together towards a common goal “. .
He suggested that a contribution rate of 25 to 30 percent of salary should be “sufficient” to ensure a good pension for USS staff members, warning that the scheme’s current approach to risk makes ” hard to get good value for money “.
He also acknowledged that the current UK proposals could place a heavier burden on members with a reduction in the future defined benefit (DB) pension and a reduction in take-home pay due to increased contributions, which could “jeopardize” the attractiveness of the regime.
In light of this, the statement called on UUK to confirm that the same commitment support will be sought for all proposals, whether they come from the UCU or the UK.
The UCU has previously argued that the UK will not offer the same “improved” support for union proposals as agreed for UK reforms, although the UK has contested this.
In addition, the statement invited the national UCU to submit an updated proposal on the basis of this support to be costed as a matter of urgency.
He also recommended that the UK and UCU join forces and create a working group with sufficient resources to explore the feasibility and promise of alternative approaches that will give long-term stability and sustainability to the pension scheme. of the USS.
“There is urgency about this and we strongly suggest that such a working group be set up and start its work within two months,” he said.
“We agree that conditional indexation, or alternative plan designs, could allow USS to continue as a group, mutual, and multi-employer plan with the ability to invest long term in growth-seeking assets. . “
Indeed, the employers of the plan have previously called for an overhaul of the design of the plan, with conditional indexation in particular being highlighted as being probably the best way to ensure a good retirement for members at a contribution rate of 25 to 30. percent.