Statement on the USS

21 February 2018

Proposed changes to the USS pension scheme have been established after collective negotiation between UUK (representing UK universities) and the UCU (representing the unions) over many months, following a statutory process. The proposals accepted at the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) meeting in January will soon be open for consultation with USS members*.

As employers, we want to ensure our staff have the best possible pension for the future and nothing in the proposals changes anything that USS members have already accrued as pension rights.

We must, however, have a pension scheme that is both affordable and sustainable for the long-term. It needs to be affordable to employers and employees, and there needs to be certainty that risks in the scheme can be managed without placing additional burdens on universities that would impact on their operations and financial sustainability. We also recognise the substantial financial commitment individuals make to the current scheme and that many would find it difficult to bear any further increases.

Our universities already make a contribution to the USS equivalent to 18% of salary for each scheme member and we will continue to do so. The 18% contribution makes the USS one of the most generous pension schemes in the UK and we are committed to ensuring that the scheme in future is as generous and competitive as possible.

The employers’ revised proposal to the JNC is available on Universities UK’s website and this outlines the modifications from the original proposal clearly. In particular, employers agreed to explore a framework by which UCU and UUK could consider the possible reintroduction of DB in the future, as well as explore other risk-sharing options such as Collective DC benefit design for future valuations.

 *The consultation will open on 19th March for 64 days and we encourage USS members to respond.

 

Related case studies