USS changes 2015-16
Members will have seen communications confirming the ballot outcome and the ending of the USS dispute. A candid report from the negotiators is also available (Appendix of UCUHE/241, PDF)
Imperial College has strongly criticised the deficit valuation methodology as have some other universities, UCU and independent analysis by First Actuarial and the respected education newspaper The Times Higher Education
Irrespective of the outcome of the 2014 valuation, UCU continues to challenge the entire approach to funding methodology, not only because it is an incorrect approach; that it is wittingly or otherwise supporting an ideological drive to make defined benefit schemes seem unsupportable by employers; but also because a more sensible approach would affect future valuations.
A special conference has also been called on Tuesday 24th February to debate the campaigns to defend pensions in HE, and to defend the capacity of the UCU to call industrial action short of a strike as part of those campaigns. Imperial College will send two delegates.
There remain some detailed specification points which will be the subject of further discussion between the employers, UCU and USS and we will provide information about these as information becomes available.
What are they proposing now? (January 2015)
- All existing and new members to the pension to be put into a “career average” scheme for future contributions.
- Final salary scheme to be closed.
- Final salary benefits built up to date to be calculated on salary at the date of this change.
- Accrual rates to be 1/75th of pensionable salary per year.
- Benefits to increase in line with inflation (CPI) (increases above 5% on benefits earned since October 2011 will be subject to a cap)
- Benefits capped at a 55K salary threshold
- An additional “defined contribution” section of USS to be established, which would not provide any guarantee of return on investment. Additional contributions of 1% of salary could be paid into this. Any salary above 55k would be paid into this.
In the News
There has been wide coverage of the USS pension changes in the media. A few of these articles are listed below.