Some questions on USS dispute answered: What's the intended outcome? What exactly are the employers imposing? Can you compare the figures disputed by different actuaries on this?

These questions are answered in our leaflet on the dispute and by UCU's 'dispute questions', but we pick out some specific answers here:

- what is the intended outcome of the strike? 
See "What we can do" in above-linked leaflet:-

The decision of the USS Board to impose the employers’ 100% Defined Contribution plan now means that the only way of saving our pensions will be by pressure on university employers. 

UCU has just completed an industrial action ballot of its members. At UCL, 57% of eligible UCU members (including IOE colleagues) returned their ballot papers. 90% voted for strike action and 95% for actions short of a strike. Staff in 60 other universities voted similarly. Strike action is planned to be hard-hitting and is likely to begin soon. It will be tough, but then the losses we face are devastating. The aim is to pressure the employers to reach a collective agreement with UCU that protects pensions. 

Now is the time to join the union and take part in the action alongside your colleagues. UCU members will be asking colleagues to support them and respect the action, whether or not they are union members. 

The employers could go back to USS to extend negotiations. The Board decision could be be rescinded. We know that the Pension Regulator (the government regulator) is flexible around the valuation method and negotiation time-scale. The alternative, involving compensating staff for pension losses of hundreds of thousands of pounds, is far more expensive!

A key reason that we are in this ‘crisis’ concerns the estimated risk (liability) of employers that is factored into the deficit calculation. Like many VCs, we think that there is a lot more that Government could do to shoulder some, if not all, of this risk. 

Our colleagues in many other European countries, post-92 universities, schools and FE colleges, the NHS and government, all have pensions underwritten and guaranteed by the state. Why should UK pre-92 universities have a pension scheme with no government guarantee? The employers have to pay their fair share but we need to put pressure on the Government to step in and support the pension fund.

- where is there information about what the employers and USS are actually imposing? 
See the above-linked leaflet - 100% DC with cuts in actual contribution + risk. For some staff this will mean the difference between a 30k a year pension and a 15k a year pension. 

- do we have a simple comparison of the figures that our actuaries and the USS/UUK actuaries produced? 
See the leaflet under "The pension cut"

There is also a more detailed breakdown on the UCU website, see page 6 of

In particular, compare columns "USS-zero cap" and "USS-£55k cap". 


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