Following talks at ACAS, UUK and UCU negotiators have published the terms of a new joint proposal on the USS pension. However, the Higher Education Committee of UCU and university branches rejected the alternative proposal, and refused to call off industrial action.
The proposal outlined a transitional arrangement for three years from 1 April 2019, which would have retained defined benefits (DB) for all scheme members up to a salary threshold of £42,000; supported by higher financial contributions (employers – rising from 18% to 19.3% and scheme members – rising from 8% to 8.7%). It would also have changed the accrual rate from 1/75 to 1/85; capped indexation and revaluation at CPI up to 2.5%; and removed the 1% match.
UCU and UUK would have convened an independent expert group of academics and pension professionals to examine the methodology, assumptions and monitoring of the scheme’s valuation. UUK and UCU would have also worked together to explore alternative options for the future of the scheme beyond the transitional arrangement which would end in 2022.
Had the transitional proposal been accepted it was expected that industrial action would be suspended from Wednesday 14 March.
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