USS dispute: your views sought

Dear UCU member

Last night you will have received an email from UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt updating you on the latest developments in the USS dispute.  A copy of the text of her message is here –

In summary, the union negotiators believe there has been movement in negotiations and therefore it will recommend to a meeting of the Higher Education Committee, the assessment boycott is lifted pending further negotiations and a meeting of the Joint Negotiating Committee on 15th January.  Depending on the outcome of those negotiations industrial action (in the form of strike action and/or action short of strike action) may or may not be reinstated.

This analysis of the situation is contested by some who wish to maintain the boycott and call a special HE Sector Conference to determine the union’s next steps.  There is concern about the proposals the union has already made.  This opinion is presented here –

HEC will make its decision next Wednesday (19th November).  UCU Nottingham cannot decide policy on current developments as we are not able to call a general meeting in the time we have available. However, as one of the largest UCU branches in the country we are keen to make sure that our voices are represented in the Union’s debates.  It is our intention therefore to write to the General Secretary prior to the 19th setting out the views of members at the University of Nottingham.  This cannot claim to be comprehensive, let alone ‘official policy’ – but we know from the emails we have received, and the views expressed at meetings, that members have a range of views about the substantive proposals on offer, and the tactics of the union. We want to make sure those voices are heard when HEC meets to decide the next steps in the campaign.

The branch committee therefore invites you to let us know your thoughts on the union’s proposals and/or its tactics.  Please email these to us either by replying to this email, or emailing Please do this by Monday 17th November, which then allows time for us to process your contributions and formulate a response.  Our intention is not to present ‘a position’ (unless one emerges very clearly ) but to ensure the union decides its next steps on the basis of members’ views and opinions. If you prefer to feed your views back through your departmental contact, then please do so.

Details of the employer and union ‘opening proposals’ are available here – These are necessarily long and detailed documents, but we do encourage you to read them – especially UCUHE236 which sets out the union’s counter proposals.

The UCU pension modeller, which provides an estimate of the impact on your pension of the employers’ proposals, is here –

Thank you for taking the time to read this email, for engaging with the issues, and above all, for supporting the union action.  However we move forward, we realise we must proceed together.  Our power in this dispute derives from our commitment to debate together, decide together and act together.

With best wishes

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