The result of the USS e-ballot held by UCU

The result of the ballot was as follows:

Total balloted: 53,415
Total votes cast: 33,973
Total number valid votes: 33,913
Turnout: 63.5%

Yes to accept the UUK offer – 21,683 (64%)
No to reject the UUK offer  –  12,230 (36%)

This represents the highest turnout in any national ballot or consultation of any kind in UCU’s history.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary said:

‘In line with the decision of members the union will suspend its immediate industrial action plans but keep our legal strike mandate live until the agreement between UCU and UUK is noted by USS.

‘We will now get on with the job of making the joint expert panel work for you and your pension.

‘For the avoidance of doubt, all currently planned industrial action – including that scheduled for next week – is suspended and members should work normally.

‘However you voted, thank you so much for participating in this record breaking consultation and for all of your support for the union throughout this historic dispute.’

In Cardiff will now be focusing on the process to ensure an outcome in line with our expectation of no change in the Defined Benefit provision (1)

There is real concern that the recent valuation continues to apply to the current situation. As such, members worry that moves will be made using the current valuation period to alter the pensions before the expert panel has done its work.

UUK will need to provide clearer assurances about their intentions regarding what they expect to happen based on the current valuation.

The phrase “broadly comparable” which has been used by Alistair Jarvis has caused issues and undermined the very trust he wrote about rebuilding.

Trust remains the key issue and will be difficult to resolve unless there is a change in the “body language” of UUK . Simple steps that UUK could take to improve trust are:

  • For UUK to be transparent about the effects of their undeclared payment holiday and offer to make this loss good.
  • For UUK to give a commitment to complete transparency of the data, methodology and outcome of the proposed independent valuation.

It has become clear that one driver behind the proposal that Universities UK to de-risk their pension obligations by moving to a wholly defined contributions pension scheme – has been the ongoing push to marketise university education in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In Cardiff we have been thinking through these wider considerations and particularly the impact of marketisation.

Marketisation impacts the way staff are treated and increasingly controlled. Locally we have an ongoing campaign regarding workload. More information about that will be circulated as the campaign in developed.

(1) a pension ‘comparable with current provision’ means one that provides defined benefits that are not inferior to our existing provision