Consultation about Proposed USS Changes: UCU views and recommendations
(Bath) UCU's Recommendations to USS members and potential members
- Vote in the UCU-organised ballot (next paragraph).
- Take part in the employers consultation (below).
(Bath) UCU's view on Consultations
The University of Bath, as the employer, is within the letter of the law in not
holding a ballot of members on the proposed changes to USS. For this reason, in
order to ensure that your voice is numerically counted, UCU strongly
recommends that all USS members, or those eligible to belong to USS, whether UCU members or not, express their views at the UCU-organised ballot by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org: you will then be sent a unique link to take part.
This true ballot closes 7 December 2010.
The University's mechanism for Consultations
The University, as employer, is using the USS-wide employers' consultation mechanism at http://www.ussconsultation.co.uk/. This will let you express your views on the proposals via their mechanism, and it is important that you do so, else we are open to the charge "few people were interested, so the changes are OK". Professor Davenport has a printout of the questions here so that you can see what the questions are. Please note that you are only allowed to do this once - should you wish to change your views or add new views, you should e-mail the University's contact point: Ian Cheetham. If you save the consultation to return to it, and have given an e-mail address, you are given a link in that e-mail which is the only way to continue.
This consultation closes 22 December 2010.
Professor Davenport has some personal reflections on these questions.
It has been reported from other universities that some browsers cause
difficulties with this http://www.ussconsultation.co.uk website. Ian Cheetham
has asked that such problems
be reported to him, so that he can take them up with USS.
Bath UCU Local Association actions
Professor Davenport spoke at a recent open meeting on the changes: his slides are here (Bath users only).
He is also speaking on 23 November at 12.15 in 1WN 3.17.
UCU's general USS website.
The employers' statement and
UCU's refutation of the employers' statement.
The Bath Local Association's Motion
Passed 3 November 2010.
- This Local Association notes that the HE employers (including Prof. Breakwell as a member of the USS Board) are intent on forcing draconian and unnecessarily extreme changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme. If implemented, the employers' agenda will mean:
- Lower annual pension increases
- Transfer of much of the inflation risk from the scheme to the individual employee/pensioner
- An increase in the normal pension age
- The abandonment of a final salary scheme for new entrants, creating a two-tier pension scheme with future pressure on existing members
- Existing members who are at risk of redundancy, including those on fixed term contracts, who have a break of 6 months or more in service will not be able to rejoin a final salary scheme
- An increase in contributions for employees with no progressive proposals to make high earners pay more
- Removal of the right for individuals made redundant to take their pension unreduced.
- In the particular case of the University of Bath, these changes:
- Will make the movement of staff to/from industry and commerce less attractive, contrary to its Charter (clause 2);
- Will make the "recruitment and retention of excellent staff" (Corporate Plan pre-requisite 1) more difficult;
- Will, through the inflation-capping of deferred service, make achieving the goal of "30% of our faculty from non-UK countries" (Corporate Plan page 9) more difficult.
- This LA instructs the UCU committee
- To seek agreement with the University on a “no detriment” clause for existing USS members, whether at Bath or elsewhere, when applying for jobs at the University of Bath; [This clause was added when the Local Association was under the impression that the employers intended to reduce the contribution rate in .new USS., as originally proposed. At the initial consultation meeting, the Director of Finance gave a verbal assurance that that was not the intention, which UCU representatives welcomed. However, such an assurance is not binding on USS, so the clause is still valuable.]
- To invite the Vice-Chancellor to an open meeting for her to explain her vote for these damaging proposals
- To prepare for industrial action in the event of a satisfactory agreement not being reached
- This LA notes that there is a statutory requirement to consult over these changes. This LA calls on the University of Bath to:
- Conduct a consultative ballot on the proposals for change submitted respectively by the Employers' Pension Forum and the UCU
- Publish the result of the ballot to scheme members within the institution
- Send the ballot result to USS as the local response to the statutory consultation exercise
- Ensure all members of USS are able to engage in the process and that their comments are fully reflected in the institution's response to USS and that they are published locally.
- This LA meeting instructs the UCU committee to call a meeting of the appropriate local negotiating/consultation body to discuss the proposed changes to USS and to seek agreement with the employer the terms of the local response to the USS consultation process.
[University of Bath]