Birmingham UCU urges all USS members at the University of Birmingham to use USSbriefs’ easy-to-use consultation template to respond to the current consultation by 2 November on planned 10% increase in salary contributions, calling on USS management and employers to halt the consultation and shelve the contribution increases.
What’s at stake?
Managers of the USS pension scheme are looking to impose a substantial contribution increase from the from the current rate of 26% of salary to 36.6% of salary.
The planned increase is, in part, a consequence of the successful strike action UCU members took earlier this year to defend the USS pension scheme from employers’ plans to end guaranteed pension benefits. Under pressure, employers agreed to suspend changes to the pension scheme and convene a Joint Expert Panel to consider the future of the pension scheme. USS managers claim the planned increase in salary contributions are necessary to safeguard the scheme’s financial viability until a long-term approach to funding USS can be agreed.
Serious questions over management of our pension scheme
The case for increasing salary contributions has been significantly undermined in recent months by two developments in particular. Firstly, the JEP discredited USS’s valuation, calling into question the need for contributions to rise.
Secondly, earlier this month, UCU negotiator Sam Marsh revealed that the Scheme had failed to realise or disclose that it was projected to have a massive surplus if it didn’t carry out its plan of buying lots of lower-risk investments. This discovery was shocking and important enough to be covered in the FT and to provoke a series of vehement but unconvincing responses from USS HQ.
At a minimum, these developments justify the USS suspending their consultation over planned contribution increases until members have received further clarification. More likely, they call into question the very rationale for increasing salary contributions at all.
Take 5 minutes to complete the consultation
USSbrief’s consultation template makes it easy to take part in the consultation. Submitting your response is as easy as logging on to the USS website and pasting it into a box.