Pensions Update

Your industrial action prevented the wholesale destruction of your pension. There is still a divide between what employees and employers want and what the fund’s managers seem to want to deliver. Academics for Pension Justice have instructed counsel.

Following recent announcements from USS, here is an update from your union branch.

In brief, USS is pushing ahead with its world view that the fund is risky and contributions need to be increased, albeit on the ‘calculation’ of a much lower deficit than before our industrial action.

This is not a world view which is widely shared.

The important thing for us as a union to realise is that Bill Galvin and company, the scheme’s managers (not executive as they would like to think!) are just that, managers of our pension scheme.

The employers should now be speaking to us, the members, and agreeing a way forward. Both the employers and scheme members want the same thing – low contributions and an assured outcome (which comes from a good investment portfolio). However, the fund’s managers seem determined to transform the fund.

There have been calls for Galvin to be removed and this would be a very good step in the right direction!

Some of us have contributed to the group Academics for Pension Justice and they instructed counsel before Christmas, essentially to think about whether USS has breached its duties to act in the interests of beneficiaries in relation to issues such as the infamous “test 1” and that gloriously flawed September consultation. We await news.

USSBriefs has published a commentary on the situation. Josephine Cumbo in the Financial Times, has reported on the matter.

A final reminder — your industrial action last year made a significant difference to your retirement prospects. Now is the chance to do the same for casualisation, equality, pay and workload. Your ballot should be arriving this week.

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