UCU has no confidence in “needlessly cautious” pensions scheme approach

The UCU says it has no confidence in the “needlessly cautious” approach taken by the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) in its valuation of the pension scheme.

The union said the valuation should reflect the strong long-term outlook for the scheme and said punitive changes that resulted in higher contributions and weaker benefits could force more people to leave the scheme.

It said it was disappointed that USS had cherry-picked recommendations from a Joint Expert Panel (JEP), set up by UCU and university representatives Universities UK following unprecedented levels of strike action over detrimental changes to USS in 2018. The union urged universities to use their leverage to make USS reconsider its approach and to look at again at the work of the JEP.

 UCU head of higher education Paul Bridge said: “We have no confidence in the needlessly cautious methodology applied by USS. We are also disappointed USS has cherry-picked from the recommendations made by the JEP. UCU members are well informed and expect to see better evidence behind the judgements USS has made. 

“We want USS to take account of the strong long-term outlook for the scheme. Members are leaving the scheme because of its high cost – calling for unnecessarily large reductions in benefits and increased member contributions is not the way forward. Universities need to start demanding more from USS and push back against this approach.”

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