If you’re a member of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), your pension contributions recently rose to 8.8% of your salary. Now employers’ representatives have voted to raise your contributions to 9.6%, with further hikes planned up to as much as 11% by 2021. Even worse, employers seem likely to look to save money by reducing your benefits or closing the ‘defined benefit’ element of the scheme, leaving you with an uncertain, variable income in retirement. Strikes by university staff in early 2018 successfully resisted the most recent attack on USS members’ pensions and secured an independent Joint Expert Panel (JEP) to analyse the scheme and how it operated. Unfortunately, USS pension scheme managers have refused to implement the JEP recommendations for changes to the discredited valuation methodology, leading to the current members’ contribution rises and a new dispute. UNISON is incredibly disappointed that employers have pushed to burden members with unnecessary and unfair extra costs. These increases have serious consequences and may force some members, especially the lowest paid, to leave USS, jeopardising not only individual retirement plans but the future of the scheme as a whole. University workers must act now to protect our interests and secure pension justice. Unless the employers are prepared to pick up the increased costs for USS members, they will face another round of strikes. SOAS UNISON members in USS recently voted by 81% to reject the pension contribution increases in the national consultative ballot (turnout 61%). UNISON will now formally ballot all members in USS nationally on taking strike action against the proposed pension contributions increases alongside UCU academic colleagues. When you receive your ballot paper, vote YES to action and urge your co-workers to do the same.
Ballot papers will be posted to your home from 9 September. The ballot closes 30 October.
If you don’t receive your ballot paper call the national hotline: 0800 0857 857.
Not in UNISON? Join by 22 October to get your vote.