USS Pensions Update

Issued: Thu, 29 Aug 2019 10:57:00 BST

As you will be aware, discussions regarding the future of the USS pension scheme (of which most members of UofG staff in Grade 6 and above are members) have been ongoing since the 2018 valuation.  Various parties are involved in these discussions, including Universities UK (representing employers), UCU (representing staff), the USS Trustee (the board which directs and controls the scheme) and the Pensions Regulator (the government body which oversees pension schemes in the UK).  In addition, there is the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), which decides how contribution increases or decreases will be applied and/or what benefit changes should apply.  Universities UK and the UCU have equal representation on the JNC, which has an independent chair. 

Following a consultation with employers on various options, the JNC met last week and decided that there should be no change to benefits for the time being.  However, it also decided that the total contribution rate (the funds put into the scheme by both employers and members) should increase from 28.3% of salary to 30.7%.  The JNC determined that the increase should be shared 65% by employers and 35% by members, in accordance with the scheme rules.  The proposed revised contribution rates from October 2019 are 9.6% for members (previously 8.8%) and 21.1% for employers (previously 19.5%).  Agreement at the JNC was only reached on this occasion following the intervention of the independent chair, who used his casting vote.

The USS Trustee now has to decide whether to accept these proposals.  As a first step, the Trustee is formally consulting employers on the revised schedule of contributions arrangements as outlined above.  This consultation runs until 9 September 2019, after which the Trustee will make its decision.

For its part, the University of Glasgow is committed to ensuring the best possible package of pay and benefits for members of staff.  Above all, we want a settlement that is affordable to both employees and employers, is sustainable in the long term and maintains excellent pension provision for members of staff when they retire.  Having carefully considered the options, we support the increase in contributions to 30.7% as the best way to protect current benefits for scheme members.  

At the same time, UCU has announced that it will ballot its members for possible industrial action over pensions.  It argues that the employers should meet all the additional costs.  The UCU ballot will open on 9 September 2019 and close on 30 October.

Further information is available at:

https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/

https://www.ucu.org.uk/

https://www.uss.co.uk/

We will share further information as and when it becomes available.