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Shadow universities minister calls for USS talks to continue towards "agreed solution"

18 December 2017 | last updated: 8 January 2018

Labour's shadow universities minister, Gordon Marsden, has called for USS negotiations to continue for "as long as necessary" in order to find a solution which "shares the confidence of both staff and employers".

Mr Marsden wrote to the universities minister, Jo Johnson, on Friday outlining concerns about the damaging impact the proposals from Universities UK (UUK)  would have on USS members' retirement income and on the ability of universities to attract and retain staff.

He also acknowledged the potential for industrial action if no agreement is reached, saying: "the imposition of an unpopular solution on scheme members is likely to exacerbate the situation and could lead to unnecessary disruption to students in our universities."

The letter suggests the minister should urge the Pensions Regulator to extend the timescale for consultation if no agreed solution is reached at today's negotiating meeting.

The shadow minister also wrote directly to UUK and UCU on Friday urging both sides to "commit to continuing negotiations" towards an outcome that "meets the need of both employers and individuals" if no agreement is reached today.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'This is a welcome intervention from Gordon Marsden. It is in everyone's interests for both sides to find an agreed solution which meets the needs of both employers and USS members.

'UCU is ready and willing to negotiate for as long as it takes to identify the best way forward, and we urge the employers to make the same commitment.'