USS Pension – How Does Your VC Vote?

UUK is now consulting USS employers on a UCU proposal to retain the status quo of a Defined Benefit (DB) scheme up to £55,550, but with the accrual rate reduced from 1/75 to 1/80. (DC would remain as is, except that the unpopular voluntary 1% DC match would be eliminated.) This could be funded by a modest increase in contributions — a little more than 2% for employers and 1% for members — but only if USS reverts to the valuation they originally proposed in September. If, however, USS sticks to their revised, more pessimistic November valuation, this proposal will be unaffordable.

Even though 53% of employers accepted the level of investment risk of the September valuation, the opposition of 42% prompted USS to revise their valuation in November by speeding up the shift of the portfolio from growth assets to bonds during the next twenty years.

UCU Bradford LA Committee contacted Prof. Cantor in the week prior to the most recent University Assembly, suggesting that he might like to indicate his and the University’s position regarding USS pensions and proposed changes; regrettably the VC failed to do so and has yet to respond to our request for a statement.

One can perhaps surmise that this deafening silence speaks volumes, and that our employer Is indeed amongst the 42% who UCU urges to revise their position to make this proposal possible. Otherwise, it’s likely that the UUK proposal of 100% DC accrual going forward will be imposed on us come the 23rd January.

UCU Bradford LA Committee will be making yet another request for clarity from the VC, making it clear that an opposition stance and support for the shift to 100% DC is simply incoherent: namely that low risk is intolerable when shared by 350 institutions but high risk is fine when borne by workers individually.

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