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Update on USS consultation and National Pay Award

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USS

This week individual members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme will receive letters inviting them to participate in a formal consultation. 

The consultation relates to proposed increases in both employer and employee contribution rates, with phased changes occurring on 1 April 2019, 1 October 2019 and 1 April 2020. 

The changes are deemed necessary in light of the statutory obligation to complete the 2017 USS valuation, and reflect a failure to reach agreement on proposed scheme changes via the USS Joint Negotiating Committee. In these circumstances a default “cost-sharing” provision applies, as set out in the Scheme Rules (specifically Rule 76.4-8). 

This is fully explained in the letter and accompanying leaflet that USS members will receive.

The formal consultation will open on 3 September and close on 2 November 2018. Members of the USS are encouraged to participate in the consultation.

It is important to note that the timing of this consultation is driven by the statutory obligation to complete the USS valuation, and is separate and distinct from the work currently underway via the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) established via an agreement between Universities UK (on behalf of employers) and the University and College Union (on behalf of scheme members). 

JEP

I reported previously on the establishment of the JEP, its terms of reference and agreed membership in my updates on 3 May and 25 May.

This panel has been meeting regularly over the summer months, taking evidence from a wide range of stakeholders. Notes of its various meetings can be viewed on the UUK website.

The panel is due to report its findings and any recommendations in September. Further information will follow when it becomes available. It is possible that the outcomes of the JEP may negate the necessity for the proposed changes that are the subject of the USS consultation described above, but at this point that cannot be assumed.

National Pay Award and UCU Ballot

On 14 August I reported that the national pay bargaining process had reached its conclusion without reaching full agreement with the participating trades unions. 

The University has now received formal notification from the UCU that it will be balloting its members with a view to taking strike action and/or action short of strike. The ballot opens on 30 August and closes on 19 October 2018. There is no indication as yet as to the likely duration of any industrial action, should UCU members vote in favour of that. 

It is important to stress that this proposed action is a response to the national pay bargaining process outcomes and is not related to the action that occurred earlier this year regarding proposed changes to the USS. 

Further information will follow when it becomes available.

John Brady

Director of Human Resources

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