Socialist Worker

Special conference to discuss USS pensions

by Malcolm Povey, UCU NEC (pc)
Issue No. 2287

Lecturers in the UCU union were set to gather in London for a special delegate conference this coming Tuesday to discuss their pensions dispute.

Delegates are from older, pre-92 universities, and are in the USS pension scheme.

The meeting takes place against the background of the government’s “heads of agreement” offer to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).

University employers have imposed a rotten deal that means USS members will pay more and work longer to receive less.

UCU activists played an important role in delivering strikes on 22 and 24 March, 30 June and 30 November last year. This, together with the current work to contract, has pushed employers to offer talks.

However, UCU negotiators have recommended that industrial action is suspended in return. They claim a temporary concession made by the employers over redundancy justifies this.

But it is the union’s job to fight compulsory redundancy, not to negotiate better redundancy deals that sell jobs.

The employers are only negotiating because lecturers took action. We need to threaten escalation. Nor must we undermine other unions that have refused to sign the “heads of agreement” or are consulting with their members.

Negotiators have also agreed to switch to a career average scheme instead of a final salary one. This makes it easier to undermine pension schemes through erosion of accrual rates.

Delegates should support motions calling for escalation of action and for cooperation with the TPS unions. They should also support the amendment to the negotiators’ report calling for a continuation of work to contract and escalation of action.

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Article information

Tue 24 Jan 2012, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2287
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