USS Pensions Action

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Your Pension Axed - Fight back against a brutal attack on your pension

Cardiff UCU Strike Info

Cardiff UCU invites all staff, students and community to join in this protest against pension changes: the biggest attack on HE since introduction of student fees. Information published by our own academics from Cardiff University’s Business School indicate that the rationale for the change in the USS pension is poor. The extrapolations on which the UUK imposed proposals are based on, are flawed. more…

Upcoming Action Short of a Strike Days  – What’s Happening:

Week Six:

21st March

Woon Wong will speak on Wednesday, 21 March at 3pm in Room 0.16 Post-Graduate Teaching Centre. The presentation will explain the basic principles used in the valuation of a defined benefit pension scheme, and then discuss the valuation methods adopted by USS as well as the guidelines of the Pensions Regulator. Empirical evidence from data analysis concludes that the annual valuations from 2012-2017 by USS are predicated on a flawed basis and it is necessary to fundamentally re-think how the correct message should be communicated to UUK, UCU, the Pensions Regulator as well as the public. There will be a lecture capture recording for those unable to attend with the link to follow.

26th March

We have arranged a lunchtime open meeting on Monday 26th March in the Wallace Lecture Theatre. We may well organise another one that week at the Heath Park campus if that makes sense. This and any other open meetings will be aimed at communicating our position on the USS Pension to all staff. This then opens up a channel for communication with staff who are in USS but did not support the strike. More information about this event will be communicated on Monday.


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Previous Strike Days – What Happened:

Week Four

Week Three

Week Two

Week One:

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Solidarity/Hardship Fund


To donate to our strike hardship fund, to support particularly those many members on low-paid and casual contracts, use the account below.  [Link to this information]

Name: UCU Cardiff LA12 Fighting Fund
Account No.: 20341260
Bank Sort code: 60-83-01
Bank: Unity Trust Bank

Donate with PayPal

Thank you for your support.


Details of how to apply to the UCU strike fund are available on the national website.

For those of you who do not receive a regular payslip, the strike fund will accept anything which shows loss of earnings, such as invoices for a previous period. If you receive unusual or irregular payments and are unsure how to evidence your lost earnings, please contact the branch office so that we can endorse your claim.

If you have suffered particular financial difficulty as a result of taking strike action you can apply to the local fighting fund in addition to the national fund. To do this, email the UCU branch office ( to register your interest by Friday 23rd March. Please use the subject heading “Claim from local fund” and give us your contact details.

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Back to work

  • Send an e-mail to your head of school/department letting them know you’ve been out on strike. It’s professional and a courtesy. We’re not obliged to tell them what we’re up to before we go, but we should let them know after it’s happened. There’s been discussion about a form to fill in, but that form commits you to declaring your entire strike attendance. You do not have to fill in a form – simply send and email. If you want to make contributions to your pension for the strike days, we recommend saying so in the e-mail. More details are on the Cardiff Uni website.
  • Speaking of e-mails, you’ll have a mountain to catch up on. It’s like coming back from holidays or being off sick. Think ahead, make some priorities, and stick to it. You may be asked to do a week’s worth of work in the next two days: remember that you’re working to contract, so think of what can happen and needs to happen over two seven-hour work days.
  • We have a simple Excel sheet which allows people to track working hours to facilitate working to contract. It is pretty self-explanatory, except that “leave time” suggests when you can leave (i.e. 7 hours after start, minus any lunch break)
  • Finally, talk about what’s been happening with your co-workers. Share the video and information below. There is so much to be positive about. Talk about the resilient spirit of the people on the lines. Some people in your department may be members who just haven’t turned up – embolden them to come out. Some people haven’t even joined – tell them it’s not too late. Our memberships are climbing since the strike, and they are protected as members from the moment they complete the online form. We’ve done a lot in five days – remind them of that. Think together of what could be achieved if our union was even bigger!

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What can you do to help win the pensions action?

“Be the Union: the union is you”

  1. Email your AM and MP
  2. During strike periods attend pickets and rally every day – experience the collegiality, humour (this really is true) and food given with love
  3. Develop ideas to engage the public and put pressure on the Cardiff University to join the ranks of dissident VCs working to resolve this dispute
  4. Follow CardiffUCU on social media
  5. When back at work talk with your colleagues who are not yet members of UCU about the dispute and why they can help defend their own pensions by joining the union

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Presentations and data available:

    1. The Big Pension Short – A video which shows the size of the University pension scheme shortfall is all a matter of assumptions
    2. Defined Benefits vs Defined Contributions in 20 seconds – An animation to illustrate DB vs DC. Pooled risk = greater stability against economic uncertainty.
    3. The Effects of USS Pension Reform Explained” by Professor VJ Wass
    4. Dr Woon Wong in association with Professor VJ Wass  shows that the impetus to close the USS Define Benefits Pension is additionally based on an unnecessarily cautious extrapolation from an artificially low gilts yield in Aug 2016:  The Phantom Deficit of Our USS Pension 
    5. Made in Westminster: The source of the USS ‘crisis’ – and the solution.  This article by Sean Wallis is very worthwhile reading.
    6. The UCU Branch at University College London prepared the following summary of what is wrong with USS: UCL UCU Pension Factsheet
    7. Guardian article: My university assumed students just want ping pong tables, but they’re as angry with marketisation as their lecturers
    8. LSE Blog Post: Pension strike: university staff are getting a ‘Die Quickly’ pension plan. It won’t work.

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