You can influence USS and University of Oxford management by completing the USS consultation
We would strongly like to encourage all members to complete the USS pensions consultation. The consultation closes on Friday 2 November at 5pm.
This consultation is a rare opportunity for us to communicate directly with USS. All our responses also go in parallel to Oxford’s Personnel Services.
Is it worth responding?
Definitely! Though we might wonder if our responses can make any difference, USS and the University of Oxford are legally obliged to consider our responses. In addition, as we saw during the Congregation vote taken outside the Sheldonian, the moral weight of many of us speaking for our pensions can create decisive turning points. So please do respond, if you haven’t yet.
Here is: where to find the consultation, our branch recommendation on how to respond and a summary of recent developments on USS.
How can I complete the consultation?
To log in, you will need: (1) your USS member number and (2) your National Insurance number. You can find your USS number on USS materials posted to you, like the “2018 annual member statement” a few weeks back. Otherwise, phone USS on 0333 300 1043 and ask them for it (they will need: your NI number, name, date of birth and postal address).
You can find your National Insurance number on your University payslip, at top left.
How does Oxford UCU recommend that we respond?
In brief: this consultation is about increased contributions (see this post for details). However, the need for increased salary contributions has been undermined by two recent developments. Firstly, the Joint Expert Panel’s report in September called into question USS’ 2017 valuation. The JEP says our current benefits can be afforded with a much smaller increase in contributions.
Then, 10 days ago, Sam Marsh, national pensions negotiator for UCU, revealed that using USS’ own data, the Scheme is in fact projected to have a large surplus, with no need for contribution increases, if funds are not moved prematurely into lower-return investments. The design of the valuation itself causes a future deficit. This discovery was important enough to be reported in the Financial Times.
In this light, we view this consultation as flawed and recommend that you respond using this easy-to-use template response prepared by USSbriefs and signed by a range of UCU pensions experts and committee members.
If you have time to adapt this and respond in your own words, that is even better. However you feel, the most important thing is to respond, so that both USS and the University know how we collectively feel about developments on USS.
As quite a bit has happened on USS since our strike, for a summary of pensions developments and why we’re recommending this response, please see our earlier post USS: where are we now?
If you have any questions about this, please let us know.