Cardiff UCU – Cardiff University Joint Statement on USS

The following statement has been jointly released on the 27th May 2022. The statement was a condition of Cardiff UCU standing down further ASOS. Branch negotiators got advice from the Branch Executive Committee, the Cardiff University USS Actuarial Valuation Technical Group, and Head Office before agreeing the statement.

We will now request that Head Office remove the current notice of ASOS. In the meantime, we urge members to respect the democratic decision of the branch to stop ASOS once the statement was agreed.

Cardiff University and the local branch of UCU (Cardiff UCU) have worked in partnership to agree a joint statement relating to the current USS dispute.  This follows a constructive dialogue at a local level between Cardiff University and Cardiff UCU. 

We acknowledge that changes to the accrual of pension benefits over recent years have made USS a less attractive pension. These changes have affected different member groups disproportionately, but all members will have suffered some detriment. At the same time current levels of USS benefits and contributions pose a challenge to both employers and employees.

It is regrettable that Members’ trust in the governance and valuation methods of USS has broken down. We need USS to be a trusted and valuable pension scheme, because it is an important part of Cardiff University’s employment terms and conditions. Cardiff University is committed to supporting national efforts to deliver this.

Further, the University and Cardiff UCU, working jointly in partnership, call on all parties to: 

  1. Recognise that the USS Trustee’s approach to the next valuation of the scheme’s assets and liabilities, and to its timing, should be moderately prudent and evidence-based in order to maximise any potential upside.  
  2. Ensure that any upside arising from the next valuation should be used to improve member benefits.
  3. Continue to support the principle of a Defined Benefit scheme.
  4. Support JEP recommendations on USS governance to ensure greater stakeholder representation so that members play a more active role in its valuation process including input into matters such as valuation assumptions and strategies relating to investment and funding. 
  5. Recognise the importance of conducting and publishing outcomes from Equality Impact Assessments, including sector-wide assessments, on all current and future pension changes to the scheme, and factor them into consideration of any future proposals.

We urge all parties involved to work to rebuild trust through a transparent and evidence-based approach to discussions and communications around the valuation process.

Cardiff University will use its position as a member of UUK to work actively in support of the points set out above and Cardiff UCU will use its position as part of the national union to do likewise.