UCU’s representatives on the USS Joint Negotiating Committee have chosen to reject an improved offer from employers on how to share the cost of contributions increases required by the scheme.
During the course of negotiations on the 2018 valuation, UUK’s representatives offered to pay an additional 0.5% for two years in return for no industrial action or ballots in relation to USS for the period to October 2021 – subject to consultation. This would have resulted in a lower member contribution rate of 9.1% – exactly aligned with what was proposed by the Joint Expert Panel in its first report, which UCU and UUK supported.
The UCU negotiators indicated they were unwilling to compromise, refused to consult their members over the alternative offer, and consequently rejected it.
The committee eventually decided – through a casting vote by the independent chair – to conclude the valuation in line with UUK’s original proposal with the cost of increases shared 65:35, resulting in a rate of 21.1% of salary for employers, and 9.6% for members.
A Universities UK spokesperson said:
“It appears that UCU’s ‘no detriment’ position means no compromise.
“By rejecting the alternative offer proposed by employers, UCU have passed up an opportunity to conclude the valuation with a lower member contribution rate, in line with what the Joint Expert Panel proposed, and 1.3% lower than the rate that otherwise would have applied under the 2017 valuation backstop.”