Email to members re USS dispute 4/11/14

Dear UCU member

You will be aware that the union’s campaign to protect your pension from swingeing cuts enters a new phase tomorrow when the assessment boycott commences.  What the boycott involves is explained here – please take the time to read this information –

None of us wish to take this action – but it is clear that if we are to defend our pensions we will need to be determined. Over a typical retirement period the changes proposed by Universities UK will cost individuals many thousands of pounds.  Pension payments will be determined by the market performance of investments.

Our action is intended to bring maximum pressure to bear on the negotiations.  Locally we have already met with the SU, and we have more meetings planned. We have also requested a meeting with the University.  We are taking all necessary steps to make our case.

In some universities there is already a public acknowledgement that the proposed changes have the potential to impact on recruitment and retention of staff (Oxford).  For example, pensions in post-1992 universities (who are members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme) will be significantly better than USS pensions if the UUK proposals are introduced. In other universities (Cambridge and Warwick) there is a concern that the proposals are based on overly pessimistic analyses of future developments in USS. There is clearly scope to bring about improvements in negotiations and this is what our action is intended to achieve.

At this moment we are not clear how the University of Nottingham will respond to our industrial action.  A small number of universities have announced a punitive and draconian approach and insisted they will deduct 100% pay.  However, a wide range of responses are discernible across the sector and we are expecting that our own institution will adopt an approach that is proportionate to the action being undertaken.

As soon as the University’s position is clear the UCU branch will be in contact with you with further advice.  Please look out for this advice – it will be circulated by email and at .

We are holding a meeting for members to discuss these issues, and build support for our campaign, on Monday 10th November, 1-2pm in Room B63 of the Law and Social Sciences Building.

If you have any specific questions about the action please email

Thank you, as always, for your support for the union.

Howard Stevenson

President, University of Nottingham UCU

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