USS Pension Update: Complaint to UUK

A complaint has been lodged to USS on behalf over over 3,000 UCU USS members in a letter that can be read here. The text below has been modified from an email sent out by Neil Davies, a member highly active in the USS dispute.

The second stage of the complaints process should be passed onto an advisory committee of the USS which is made up of three UUK members (Mr C Vidgeon, Dr A Bruce, Mr D Linfoot) and three UCU members (Marion Hersh, Chris Grocott Renee Prendergast). Neil believes the USS has a further 4 months to respond.

However, Neil does not believe that it is likely that the USS will uphold our complaint. The next stage of this process is to escalate the complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman. Again, it is unclear whether the Pensions Ombudsman would uphold our complaint, however it is important to use these complaints process to demonstrate the USS’s accountability to members. 

This is one of the reasons why legal action is so important. We have raised the £50k required to get this underway. Thanks so much to everyone who donated. Please do not donate further to the crowd fund, Ewan and I will be in touch with donors asap once this gets underway.

What are the key dates? 

At the end of August the USS Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) will respond to the USS proposals for the 2020 valuation. UUK has submitted a proposal that involves very substantial benefit cuts which could reduce the value of the pension we earn in future by £100,000s. Please see the pensions modeller to see how it could affect you. If the JNC accepts the UUK cuts, then USS will aim to finalise the valuation and implement the changes by April 2022. 

What else can we do?

  1. Let the Chair of the USS Trustees know your view. 
  2. Find out what the university’s position is on the UUK proposal (there are details in the updates below, but ask Chris for details or, better still, email Karen Cox to ask). There have been few (no?) public statements of support. However, many institutions responded to a short UUK consultation in June, in which UUK claims most institutions support the proposals. Ask your VC whether they support the proposals.
  3. If you have legal expertise, especially in company, regulation, pension, or trust law, and would like to help, please get in touch. 
  4. If you know, or know how to contact government special advisors, especially at the Treasury, Department for Work and Pensions, or the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, please let me know.
  5. Finally – let your colleagues know about what is being proposed, and how it could affect them. Ask them if they could retire if the max USS pension someone could earn was about £20k/year? 

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