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USS pension justice - we earned it

Don't leave it too late to defend USS

24 October 2019 | last updated: 5 March 2020

I am writing to remind you to vote, if you haven't already, in UCU's ballot on USS pensions. Please post your vote by Monday 28 October to make absolutely sure it will arrive by the 30 October deadline.

If we don't act now the contribution increases we are facing from this month onwards could force thousands of lower-paid members to leave the scheme - undermining and weakening it for those of us who remain. Within the next year or two we could face proposals by our employers to cut benefits severely, or close the guaranteed, defined benefit element of the scheme altogether. 

Don't forget that a typical USS member stands to be about £240,000 worse off as a result of changes made to the scheme since 2011, including the most recent changes.

Meanwhile, concerns about the governance of USS continue to intensify. Recently, the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee began to probe USS's treatment of trustee board member and whistleblower, Professor Jane Hutton, and UCU has been invited to submit written evidence to the committee. 

Finally, we cannot afford to ignore the mounting risk that USS will impose even higher and earlier contribution increases than are currently scheduled. This is another reason why we cannot afford to wait to take action further down the line. 

The last USS dispute and the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) have put us in a good position to win a ground-breaking victory and secure our pensions for the longer term. We need to maintain the momentum we generated and make sure our employers work with us to overhaul the scheme.

Let's not throw away the position we have won through last year's strike and the JEP - vote now to consolidate our achievements and push for a lasting solution to the dispute.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary