USS Strike Fund Update
Imperial College UCU members who took part in the first three days action of the strike in February 2018 can now make a claim for strike pay using the Imperial College UCU Hardship Fund Guidance for Members and Imperial College UCU Hardship Fund Application Form. For members who want to claim for further days of the strike action, please use the UCU fighting fund application procedure, found on the UCU webpage: https://ucu.custhelp.com/app/fighting_fund/?_ga=2.214194258.491178916.1525100807-2045925983.1516630418
UCU members took serious and sustained industrial action in the face of damaging proposals from the employers. Imperial UCU experienced fantastic turnout on picket lines and an almost 60% increase in membership throughout the dispute.
At the start of the dispute, the employers wanted to end guaranteed pension benefits. They refused to enter into further talks. Strike action and action short of a strike brought the employers back to the negotiating table for ACAS talks which resulted in a proposal which was subsequently rejected. On 23 March, UUK agreed a new proposal to be put to UCU members in a consultative ballot. On 13 April, the results of this ballot were announced. UCU members voted to accept the UUK proposal.
Imperial UCU Calls on College Management to Support a Return to the USS September 2017 Valuation
In their email to staff of 27th February, The President and Provost suggested a further delay to spend more time scrutinising the assumptions and methods of the USS valuation.
Imperial’s Registrar has been a key participant in the USS Valuation Discussion Forum, Imperial also took part in a preliminary consultation in February/March 2017 on the assumptions of the valuation, and a further consultation in September 2017. Senior people at Imperial do not need lessons on the technical side.
A minority of USS institutions rejected the proposed level of risk in the already prudent September 2017 consultation, prompting USS to revise the valuation in November, introducing even more prudence and further increasing the “deficit”.
As between the September and November valuation approaches, Imperial has sufficient information to know that it makes more sense to delay the ‘de-risking’ to years 11-20 rather than to start it immediately. The November 2017 USS presentation to Imperial, reinforces this case.
Imperial’s own expert working group said in their 10th November report “It is important to realise that the words “de-risking” are being mis-used. Moving the scheme to less risky investments appears a “good” thing, but these less risky investments have historically poor returns and now is probably an optimally poor time to make this change. Other institutions within UUK appear to have misunderstood that de-risking now is potentially “risking” instead.”
Although the USS valuation must be publicly scrutinised, there is no need to delay things in the meantime. Imperial should already be in a position to re-iterate its support for the September 2017 valuation, as compared with the November one, and to call for UUK and USS to return to the September valuation.
UCU frequently asked questions: https://www.ucu.org.uk/uss-action-faqs
See how the proposed change might potentially reduce your expected pension by between 40% – 75% with this DB / DC comparison spreadsheet from Mike Otsuka, LSE
Blogs by Dennis Leech, Emeritus Professor of Economics Warwick, Visiting Professor of Government, London School of Economics
Blogs by Henry Tapper, Director of First Actuarial
Articles by Jo Cumbo, Pension Correspondent, The Financial Times
Strike Flyers & Leaflets