Pension dispute update

Posted by rmt22 at Mar 02, 2018 09:35 AM |
Reposting the message sent on Wednesday by Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle.

Yesterday morning (Tuesday 27 February) I spoke with staff and students who are actively supporting UCU’s industrial action over proposed changes to the USS pension scheme. I recognise that many staff are angry with the situation and feel torn between their commitment to their students, and their concerns over the proposed changes to their pensions. Many students feel equally torn between supporting their lecturers and their commitment to their studies.

There are strongly held and differing views over the state of the pension scheme and the actions which might be taken to resolve the dispute and secure the future of the scheme. While negotiations between UUK and UCU have been ongoing for over a year, it is possible that there are ideas which haven’t been fully explored. I have spoken directly to UUK to express my support for further negotiation. I know that other Vice-Chancellors have done the same and that discussions with UCU took place again yesterday. I would be very willing to put forward to UUK any proposals which staff believe may not have been sufficiently considered.

I can confirm that the salaries which staff have forgone in order to strike will go to our student hardship fund. I know that staff involved in the current action will not have taken the decision lightly. I have reviewed our approach to withholding pay for partial performance and whilst we reserved the right to do so initially, this decision was taken only to ensure we could continue to support our students, especially those in their final year. However, going forward should the situation arise, we will not withhold full pay for partial performance.

It is essential that discussions like yesterday continue and to this end I have offered to meet representatives from UCU and the Students’ Union on a regular basis to consider how we can influence a resolution to the dispute. Since I met with staff and students yesterday UUK and UCU have also agreed to go for further talks mediated by the conciliation service ACAS.

We are keeping everyone up to date through the staff and student pages and if anyone requires further information please email askus@le.ac.uk.

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