USS & Four Fights Strike Update – 15th March

USS & Four Fights Strike Update

Additional Strike Days Announced 

We will be taking an additional 5 days of strike action over USS & Four Fights from Monday 21st to Friday 25th March to put additional pressure on employers. Thank you to all our members who’ve been part of the action.

Picket Details

We will be picketing the gates of Loughborough University again from the 21st to 25th March. Picketing will start at 8am and conclude around 11am. Please let Marc Gibson know if you will be able to join the pickets.  

Re-balloting of Members 

Our current strike mandate runs out on the 3rd of May and the UCU HEC have decided to re-ballot all members at Loughborough (and the 148 other HEIs) on both Four Fights and USS to extend the strike mandate. The ballot will open on Wednesday 16th March. Please check your postal details are correct on MyUCU now, and please look out for your ballot pack arriving in the post. It should contain 2 ballots, one for USS and one for Four Fights. Please complete both and return as soon as possible. The ballot period will close on Friday 8th April.  

USS Legal Action – Crowdfunding Appeal 

This is a joint effort from many university branches who believe in fair pensions and a living planet. Its organising group includes Dr Neil Davies, Bristol UCU, and Dr Ewan McGaughey, KCL UCU and the below is taken from their latest update.

We wanted to update you about the legal action against the USS directors over cuts to our pensions and management of the USS. As you may have heard, we won our first oral hearing, and now we need to raise more to cover costs for the next on 28 March. 

If you can donate it will make a huge difference. The current pensions cuts leave many of us £100,000’s worse off in retirement (see modeller). If we win, we could get an injunction against the cuts that will happen on 1 April. We have 3 weeks to save the pension, so please donate now, and share with everyone you know!  

Legal case progress to now – In August last year, we raised £50,000 to start legal action against the USS directors. Many thanks to the over 1700 people who contributed. These donations paid for our legal team to develop our claim, which we submitted last Autumn. On the 28th of February, our barrister presented the case at an initial hearing at the High Court judge and requested permission to proceed to the next stage – a full contested hearing. We were successful, and the judge recognised the urgency of our claim and granted us a contested hearing on the 28th of March. He ruled that we have a prima facie case and that we were acting in good faith. If we are successful at the next hearing, we will be able to proceed with the legal action against the directors, which may be paid for by USS Limited (the company that runs our pensions). We have four claims: 

  • That the 2020 valuation was flawed and unnecessary 
  • USS costs are excessive 
  • The changes discriminate against women, younger and minority colleagues  
  • The USS has failed to have a credible plan to divest from fossil fuels, and this causes significant financial detriment 

Crowdfunding – However, to proceed with the next hearing, we urgently need to raise more money to cover the legal costs of the full hearing. So we would be very grateful if you could contribute to our crowdfund. Time is short, so if you could donate here asap – we would greatly appreciate it! If there is any money remaining in the crowdfund after the legal action is complete, we will use it for further legal action over the USS, for example, seeking judicial review of The Pensions Regulator. If there are no further legal options, or we get everything we want (a reasonable valuation, a cost-effective pension scheme, a pensions proposal that is not discriminatory, and divestment from fossil fuels), then we will donate any remaining funds to a charity.  

LUCU Committee 

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Strike Pay – How to Claim from the Fighting Funds

Strike Pay – How to Claim from the Fighting Funds

The national officers have authorised payments from the national Fighting Fund in support of members in the HE disputes (USS and Four Fights) which started on 1 December 2021.  Payments from the national scheme apply from your second strike day and currently up to a maximum of 11 days. In addition, as a branch, we have passed a motion to use our local strike fund to reimburse hourly-paid staff for the first day they strike up to the same daily maximum.  Please note the December, February and March dates are all considered a single set of actions meaning your “first day” of action (for which no payment is available from the national fund) is only counted once, not separately for each set of dates.

In order to make a claim to the Fighting Fund you need to: 

  • be paying subscriptions at the correct rate (if any subscription is payable); 
  • have participated in official strike action and lost pay for this
  • provide evidence of deduction from your salary or loss of earnings for strike action. 

Claiming from the Local Strike Fund (hourly paid staff, day 1 claims

Please send the following to our treasurer David Wilson – D.Wilson@lboro.ac.uk

  • confirmation from your School or Department of the hours not worked due to striking
  • the number of hours missed and the hourly rate of pay you receive

Claiming from the National Strike Fund (all other claims)

Claims to the Fighting Fund in respect of all disputes can only be made once members receive payslips showing deductions for strike action. Please read the appropriate Guidance before making your application. The Higher Education Guidance can be found here

If you are in a position where you can go without making a claim or you feel able to claim for a lesser amount please consider doing so in order that we can prioritise those whose loss of pay may cause particular hardship. The Fund will be able to support more members for longer if you can contribute in this way. 

Click here to make your application. 

Donating to the National Fighting Fund 

You can make a donation to the Fighting Fund here or by sending a cheque payable to UCU and marking the back of the cheque ‘donation to UCU fighting fund’. Please send cheques to UCU, Carlow Street, London NW1 7LH. 

LUCU Committee 

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USS Dispute – Update (24/2/22)

USS Dispute – Update (24/2/22)

USS Dispute: What has been happening?

17th January: branch officers meet with local management to discuss proposals that UCU could put forward to resolve the dispute. We explain how strike action could be avoided by both employers and employees agreeing to pay slightly higher contribution rates for a year to maintain existing benefits (employers: 23.7% for six months, 25.2% for six months; employees: 11% for six months, 11.8% for six months). Although the employer rate would be higher than under the UUK proposals, the average employer contribution rate between October 2021 and April 2023 would be less under these proposals (23.4%) than had been budgeted for (23.7% under the 2018 valuation).

24th January: branch officers meet local managers again to continue the discussion.

24th January: UCU receives a report from USS detailing members’ responses to the official consultation on UUK’s proposed cuts. This reveals strong support for maintaining existing benefits, even if it required contribution increases.

26th January: In light of the consultation responses, UCU formally tables its proposals in a letter to the Chair of the Joint Negotiating Committee. The union’s proposed resolution has three parts: (i) a joint call for a new moderately prudent valuation to supersede the discredited March 2020 valuation; (ii) maintenance of existing benefits until at least April 2023, with employers to pay 23.7% contributions for six months, then 25.2% for six months; employees to pay 11.0% for six months and 11.8% for six months; (iii) should USS refuse to conduct a new valuation then from April 2023 contribution rates would be capped at 25.2% (employers) and 9.8% (employees) with benefits reduced to the best possible available under these rates.

26th January: UCU’s proposals are discussed with local managers at the Academic and Related Staff Negotiating Subcommittee.

26th January: Without consultation with universities, UUK says that UCU’s “proposal does not appear to be a serious attempt to reach agreement as it doesn’t reflect the views employers have expressed in consultations.”

27th January: Loughborough responds to UUK. Management welcomes UCU’s proposals as a first step to resolving the dispute, but argues that point (iii) in UCU’s proposals is unrealistic.

31st January: UUK refuses to formally consult with employers on UCU’s proposal until USS confirms that the costings in the proposal add up. This is despite the proposal being based on figures provided by USS to both UCU and UUK in August 2021.

2nd February: UUK formally consults employers on a trivial modification to their own proposals, despite explicitly admitting that the new proposal was based on costings not validated by USS. For a 40 year old earning £40k/year, UUK’s modified proposal represents a 29% cut rather than the originally proposed 30% cut. UUK continues to refuse to consult employers about UCU’s proposals.

10th February: USS confirms to UUK that the UCU proposal is based on valid costings.

10th February: Two weeks after they received the proposals, UUK starts a consultation with employers on point (ii) of UCU’s proposals. They do not tell employers about point (iii) of the proposal (recall that point (iii) caps employers’ future costs, and is therefore critical). Mike Otsuka, UCU National Negotiator, writes to UUK expressing concern about this “serious misrepresentation of UCU’s proposals”.

12th February: UUK modifies its consultation materials in response to UCU’s concern, but continues to misrepresent the cost of the UCU solution. They write that UCU’s proposals would involve contribution rates of “at least 43%” whereas employer contribution rates would in fact be capped at 25.2% under the UCU proposals. Mike Otsuka writes again to UUK expressing concern at the continuing misrepresentation.

13th February: UUK describes UCU’s complaints about the inaccuracy of their consultation materials as being “simply UCU misinformation, which looks like a cynical attempt to increase turnout for their strike action”. This is a straightforward lie.

14th February: Industrial action starts. The branch begins to issue regular reports from the picket lines.

14th February: UUK modifies its consultation materials again, implicitly accepting that the previous versions contained errors.

15th February: In light of UUK’s confused communications, local managers write to LUCU seeking clarification about whether UCU’s proposals are identical to the solution discussed in the meetings of 17th, 24th and 26th January in local meetings. LUCU explains that they are.

16th February: At an Emergency General Meeting of LUCU the branch passes a motion providing strike pay to hourly paid staff from the first day of the action, partly funded by a generous donation from our friends in Loughborough’s Unite the Union branch. Other colleagues who need support to take strike action are directed to the union’s national fighting fund

18th February: Loughborough responds to UUK’s consultation:

Our initial response to the UCU proposal welcomed it as a potential first step to a negotiated solution and we encouraged UCU and UUK to work constructively to build an implementable solution, noting the very tight timeframes involved. We called on industrial action to be suspended whilst this took place.

·  We continue to welcome UCU’s acceptance that benefit changes are likely to be necessary in securing a resolution (UCU’s letter says they will accept the ‘[securing of] current benefits or, if not possible, the best achievable as a result of the … valuation’).

·  We have stated in previous consultations that we believe the current valuation was excessively prudent and call for a new moderately prudent valuation at the earliest opportunity.

·  We would be willing to consider some increase in employer contribution, but 25.2% is not sustainable. Any figure that is arrived at should be based on an extension of the current cost sharing model so employee contributions rise in proportion.

We call upon UCU and UUK to urgently seek a solution based on these three points.

Industrial action serves no benefit while this happens and should be paused.

(Aside: the third bullet point in the University’s consultation response involves a strange invocation of USS’s existing cost sharing model. In fact UCU’s proposal is consistent with current USS rules. Specifically, under UCU’s proposal the cost of maintaining current benefits would be split 65:35 between employer and employee, as required by USS Rule 76.4. Rule 76.4 only applies to situations where existing benefits are maintained and not to situations where benefits are changed (i.e. not to point (iii) in UCU’s proposal). Clearly benefit reductions fall entirely onto members rather than employers, so it would not be reasonable to expect the cost sharing rules that apply when there are no benefit reductions to also apply when there are.)

21st February: UUK announces that 93 of 97 employers “do not support” the UCU proposal (it is unclear how Loughborough’s response was categorised). An analysis of consultation responses reveals that at least some employers misunderstood the proposal (for example, some employers explicitly state in their responses that they could not afford employer contributions of 29.1%, when the UCU proposals caps them at 25.2%). Given this, we simply do not know how many employers would have supported UCU’s proposals if a competently conducted consultation had taken place.

21st February: USS announces that, even using its own highly pessimistic valuation method, the scheme’s funding position has improved from 83%-funded to 97%-funded since the March 2020 valuation date. Nevertheless, UUK decides to press ahead with cuts to pensions based on the earlier 83% value.

22nd February: The first phase of industrial action ends.

22nd February: At USS’s Joint Negotiating Committee the ‘independent’ chair votes in favour of UUK’s cut to your pension.

23rd February: Josephine Cumbo, the FT’s Pensions Correspondent, writes “I have covered UK university sector disputes over pension cuts since 2017 and can say that I have not seen members so angry as they are today over fresh cuts to their retirement benefits. The anger has reached a new depth. This does feel like a turning point.”

In summary: the last few weeks have taught us that UK universities have been willing to cut staff pensions by up to 35%, despite accepting that the valuation the cuts are premised on is flawed. To achieve this, UUK, the employer association, has been willing to misrepresent UCU’s proposals and then lie about doing so.

We’re now faced with a decision about how to respond. UCU’s Higher Education Committee meets on Friday.

LUCU Committee

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Teach Out & Picket Details for Week 3

Teach Out & Picket Details for Week 3

Teach-out: Creating Racial Dialogue
You are invited to attend a Teach-out: Creating Racial Dialogue, hosted by Angela Martinez Dy on Monday 28th February from 10:30am – 11:30am, online via MS Teams. The teach out is open to all Loughborough University staff & students and builds on the previous work of “Building the Anti-Racist Classroom” & Collective Anti Racist Efforts (CARE) training. Please register here before Sunday 4pm to receive the link to join: https://lboro.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/event-registration-teach-out.

Please share this invite with other staff/students you think may like to attend.


Picket Details – Week 3

Thanks, again, to everyone for their efforts on the picket line so far. We wanted to remind you of the picket arrangements for next week when we will be striking over Four Fights dispute. Strike days for week three are Monday 28th Feb, Tuesday 1st March & Wednesday 2nd March.

Picket times and locations remain the same 8am – 11am daily at the main gate of the Loughborough Campus (unless you’ve agreed to attend another gate – contact M.A.Gibson@lboro.ac.uk ). London based colleagues, please keep an eye on our social media accounts for details of further London Campus pickets. Well done to all for your solidarity so far, let’s keep the pressure on and force employers back to the table.

LUCU Committee

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LUCU Strike Bulletin – 10 February 2022

LUCU Strike Bulletin – 10 February 2022

Call for pickets

We are asking you to come forwards to help the branch mount pickets across all gates of the University during the strike. Please contact Marc Gibson M.A.Gibson@lboro.ac.uk

Deductions

The branch understands that deductions for the forthcoming strikes will again be staggered in March and April and is a token of the good relations that continue here between the branch and LU’s senior managers, for which we continue to be grateful.

Out of Office Message

Please find a suggested Out Of Office Message that you may adopt or use as the basis of your own message during strike action:

I am taking part in the UCU industrial action to protect pensions, and to end gender, race and disability pay gaps, precarious employment contracts and excessive workloads. During the strike period beginning 14th February, I will not be answering emails.  

If you are a student and need to discuss a wellbeing issue, please contact: <insert details here>  

If you would like further information about the reasons for the UCU industrial action, you can follow these links:  here, or here.  

Your closing address
Your name

Information for students

It is important to keep students as ‘on side’ as possible, and, while members are not obliged to declare strike action in advance, in keeping with the spirit of ‘good will’ shown by management in staggering deductions, we invite members to inform students and colleagues that you will not be teaching/keeping your appointments.  Here is a suggested template that you may adapt for use with your students, either in an email or on your LEARN pages (you may wish to put in figures that reflect your own prospective losses):

Dear <name>

You may be aware that the University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and professional services staff such as librarians and IT specialists, has called a strike beginning on Monday, 14 February and extending in its first phase until Tuesday 22 February (inclusive). 

As a member of the union, I am writing to let you know that I will be observing this strike. This means that none of my teaching on those days will take place. I would like to take this opportunity to explain why I believe it necessary to take strike action, and would appreciate it if you can take a moment to consider my message. 

The first and most important reason staff are striking is to resist drastic cuts proposed to their pensions.  Depending on their age, lecturers stand to lose between 25% and 35% of their income in retirement. Personally, I face losing 27% of my pension, INSERT YOUR OWN FIGURE HERE IF YOU WISH and this level of financial loss would result in unsustainable damage to my living standards in retirement. These cuts are based on a flawed model of what the pension scheme is worth and how it is likely to perform in future.  UCU has tabled alternative, workable proposals for the pension scheme that, at present, employers are refusing to engage with. Loughborough University’s management agrees with the union that the valuation of the pension scheme is problematic; however, this issue cannot be solved at a local level. Therefore, the union has called national strike action in order to exert pressure on university employers to negotiate in good faith and to find a fair solution.

The second reason for taking strike action is what UCU calls the ‘Four Fights’ (addressing major problems in the university sector of falling pay, excessive workload, inequality, and insecure employment contracts).

Taking strike action is a very difficult thing to do and something we consider only as a last resort. For one thing, our pay is deducted when we are on strike. But it is also difficult because we want to be doing our jobs, the most important and enjoyable part of which is giving students the best possible learning experience. I know that having your teaching cancelled will cause you disappointment and frustration, but I hope that you can understand my reasons for taking strike action, even if you may not agree with them.

If you would like to learn more about the industrial action, please take a look at this video which has been made by a Loughborough lecturer, and which has been shared with LSU for circulation to their members.

Your sincerely  
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UCU Trustee, Officer & NEC Elections 2021-22

UCU Trustee, Officer & NEC Elections 2021-22

The ballots to elect trustees, vice president (becoming president in 2024-25)  and national executive committee members opened on 27 January 2022.  The NEC, chaired by the president, is one of the union’s most important elected decision-making bodies, and it is very important that members exercise their right to decide who holds these positions. We strongly encourage you to take part in the ballots.

Ballot information

If any member has not received the ballot material to which they are entitled by Monday 7 February, they should contact the union to request a duplicate ballot paper using the online form which will be made available on this web page on 7 February.  The last day on which duplicate ballot material enquiries will be dealt with is Tuesday 22 February 2022.  The ballots close at noon on Tuesday 1 March 2022.

Hustings

A live on-line hustings event for the position of UCU Vice president (becoming president in 2024-25) will be taking place at 12:30 – 13:30 on Tuesday 8 February.   You can register for the hustings event here.

Election Addresses

Candidates election addresses can be seen by clicking on the name of the candidate towards the bottom of this web page

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LUCU News: February 2022

LUCU News: February 2022

In this newsletter, we report on: USS and Four Fights disputes, Industrial Action, and Health and Safety: Covid.

USS Dispute:  Background

Our earlier communications have set out the background to the dispute. In the first of our video explainers, pensions rep Matthew Inglis explained that the cause of the dispute is the extreme level of pessimism in USS’s March 2020 valuation. Since that video was made, USS’s assets have continued to grow. As of December 2021, the scheme’s assets were worth £92.2bn, a figure that the ‘prudent’ assumptions of the 2020 valuation said would not be reached until 2133. In response to these absurdly pessimistic assumptions, UCU called for a new moderately prudent evidence-based valuation. Instead of joining with UCU to insist upon a sensible valuation, the employers’ group UUK prioritised avoiding any financial consequences for themselves by proposing severe cuts of up to 35% to your pension.

Hopefully, you will have logged into the official USS modeller to see how you will be affected by UUK’s proposals. If you haven’t been able to, the graph below provides a guide for different combinations of salary and year of birth. Note that the assumptions that underpin the USS modeller were agreed with UUK and are not disputed. Our employers accept these figures. But despite this, the post-truth comms team at UUK continues to falsely assert that for “the vast majority” of USS members the cut will be between 10% and 18%. Those of us who used the USS modeller know that this is simply untrue.

UCU’s proposal

At our General Meeting on 12th January, members expressed strong support for UCU issuing counterproposals designed to avoid industrial action. This was fed back to national UCU by branch officers, and a national Branch Delegates Meeting was held to discuss the form of these counterproposals. A version of the proposals that attracted strong local support were issued by UCU on 26th January. This solution would involve retaining existing benefits for at least a year, at the cost of contribution rises for members and employers. Critically, the cost to employers would still be within the overall cost envelope of the pension contributions forecast for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years.

The UCU proposal is consistent with the views of USS members as expressed in the recently completed consultation. The responses from the consultation show that most respondents are in favour of maintaining current benefits, even if this means paying slightly more until a new valuation could be completed. 

Nevertheless, UUK’s response to UCU’s attempt to resolve the dispute was to issue a statement saying that “The union’s proposal does not appear to be a serious attempt to reach agreement as it doesn’t reflect the views employers have expressed in consultations”. Apparently, UUK is willing to reach an agreement, but only if that agreement reflects their views!

Notably, UUK’s statement was issued without consultation with employers. Following productive discussions with the branch throughout January, the University has replied to UUK as follows:

Loughborough University welcomes the proposal tabled by UCU as an indication of potential first steps towards resolving the current dispute. We have supported in previous consultations a move to conditional indexation, a moderately prudent valuation at the earliest opportunity, and governance changes to USS. These are issues that will need to be resolved in the next period, and we are supportive of UUK and UCU working together to this end.

We strongly welcome UCU’s acceptance that benefit changes are likely to be necessary and see this as a significant change in their position (UCU’s letter says they will accept the ‘[securing of] current benefits or, if not possible, the best achievable as a result of the … valuation’).  

We have stated in previous consultations that we believe the current valuation was excessively prudent. It will be crucial to agree in negotiations what constitutes ‘moderate’ prudence. A suggestion would be to return towards the level of risk deemed acceptable in the 2017 valuation.

The ‘back-stop’ position proposed in point 3 commits employers to higher contribution rates whilst employee contributions remain unchanged. Even noting potential changes to benefits, this is not a realistic proposal and would call on UUK to negotiate with UCU to seek equal treatment to employer and employee contributions in this clause and bring total contributions as close as possible to current levels. 

We support a pausing of industrial action whilst meaningful dialogue at national level takes place over the coming weeks on the issues above, noting the very tight timeframes involved. 

We welcome this recognition from the University that UCU’s proposals were made in good faith as part of a genuine attempt to solve the dispute. Although we disagree with parts of the University’s approach, it is clear that if UUK adopted it then there would be a strong chance of a negotiated solution prior to industrial action. It is now crucial that the Vice Chancellor insists that his representatives do a better job of representing him than they have to date.

Industrial action

You will have received information from Jo Grady, UCU’s General Secretary, announcing that we will be taking industrial action from 14th February if the dispute is not resolved. Before that date USS Joint Negotiating Committee meetings are scheduled to take place on 1st and 11th February, so there is plenty of time for a negotiated solution to emerge.  However, if UUK remains intransigent, UCU will consider the implementation of an assessment and marking boycott to follow strike action.

UUK’s cuts are due to be formally confirmed at a meeting on 22nd February, so it is vital that the industrial action – if it is needed – is solid. We must demonstrate that we are not willing to accept such dramatic and unjustified cuts to our pensions, and that we will not tolerate our employers telling us that they want an agreement, but only if that agreement matches their views. 

Picket volunteers – as previously please get in touch with branch secretary Marc Gibson  – who is again co-ordinating this activity: M.A.Gibson@lboro.ac.uk.

Four Fights

The Four Fights component of Industrial Action begins to run alongside the USS element as of Monday and Tuesday 21st and 22nd February.

Industrial action: Organising to Win

We are very pleased to acknowledge a generous donation to the UCU strike funds from our campus colleagues in Unite the Union – a very big thank you!!

Covid Update

The latest testing data shows that the University undertook 7,154 LFTs (figure includes staff and students), with 107 positive Covid cases diagnosed.

Whilst it is acknowledged that trends in infection rates and more serious complications look positive overall, LUCU remains acutely aware of how quickly the outlook might change. In this regard, LUCU commends the comparatively cautious approach taken by LU in its decision to retain its strategy of regular testing for staff and students on campuses, and for its continued support for hybrid working where practicable.  LUCU will continue to closely co-operate with Unite and Unison in working with LU management to ensure that members are enabled to work in as safe a way as possible.

LUCU Committee

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LUCU News: January 2022

LUCU News: January 2022

Happy New Year!

Our first newsletter of 2022 covers the latest news on the USS Pension dispute, new guidelines for ASOS, and an update on COVID.

USS

USS are required by law to consult with members about any proposals to change benefits or contribution rates. The behaviour of USS during previous consultations does not give us confidence that they will take members’ views seriously, but nevertheless, we would encourage members to respond. If nothing else, it will create extra work for USS (who are required to summarise consultation responses) and allow UCU to correctly argue that we are accurately representing the views of USS members.

In previous years, suggested words have been offered by UCU negotiators. This led USS to weight many hundreds of responses as if they came from only one person, so we are not providing explicit suggested words this time. Instead, Sam Marsh, a UCU national negotiator, has produced a helpful twitter thread with ideas about what you could say in your consultation response.

Sam’s thread is available here, and we reproduce the key points here:

Firstly, here’s the consultation link. You will need your USS member number, which you can find on the top of emails from them, plus identifying information.

https://ussconsultation2021.co.uk/members

Once you’re logged in, you can play with the modeller and confirm that @UniversitiesUK are shameless about misrepresenting the scale of the cuts. (I am projected to lose ~36% of my future guaranteed pension, which falls to ~28% including DC converted to an annuity.)

Once you’ve figured out the impacts, then you can go to the questions. Here are some things you might like to consider saying at various points.

  • If you consider the cuts to be based on a distorted valuation, conducted at the worst point in the pandemic, say so!
  • If you believe the valuation suffers from extreme levels of prudence, then say so! (@MartinWolf_ of the @FT would probably agree.) https://t.co/BRNLi9GfFk
  • If you consider @USSPensions to have breached the scheme rules in how they conducted the valuation processes, biasing the negotiations away from @UCU and towards @UniversitiesUK, then say so!
  • If you consider the directors of the scheme to have acted contrary to your best interests, whether of the valuation date, the lack of control of scheme costs, the lack of divestment, or the equalities considerations of the proposed cuts, then say so! https://twitter.com/ewanmcg/status/1455889324390686726?s=20
  • If you are furious at the misrepresentation by @UniversitiesUK over the scale of the cuts, then say so!
  • If you are prepared to strike to ensure that the cuts are revoked, and a new valuation is demanded by employers, then say so!
  • Of course, if you believe that these cuts are a rational and necessary response to the situation the scheme’s in, then say that instead!

ONE IMPORTANT POINT TO ADD:

If you think that maintaining current benefits is the top priority (even if that means paying 11% from April-October while a new valuation is undertaken), say so! Employers are trying to pretend this option doesn’t exist.

This last point is particularly important. We would strongly encourage you to state, using your own words, that maintaining current benefits is your top priority.

ASOS

On December 21, 2021, UCU escalated Action Short of Strike. Members are asked not to reschedule any lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action. Lectures/classes are defined as any activity between a UCU member and a student or group of students which involves any instruction, tuition, communicating or sharing of knowledge, or guidance. In addition to timetabled lectures and seminars, this includes, for example, placement visits, Personal Best meetings, and dissertation supervisions. UCU will be issuing further guidance on ASOS shortly, and we will keep members updated as information becomes available.

COVID Update

LUCU continues to meet weekly with management to inform and monitor the University’s response to Covid. Our discussions, which involve also UNITE and Unison representatives, have been mainly productive, resulting in improvement to ventilation systems in work spaces across campus where required, while some teaching has been moved to more suitable rooms.  We are pleased to inform members that the University will continue to run a testing programme using its store of Lateral Flow-test Devices (LFD’s), even if the government ceases testing. Regarding home working, we have been assured that where staff are not required to be on campus, they may continue to work from home. For staff who have concerns about in- person delivery or duties that require them to be on either campus, the University will continue its previous posture of providing a non-occupational health focussed solution via line management.

In reflection of the fluid broader national trend, cases at Loughborough University have been rising (see here for latest LU figures); hence, we are requesting additional mitigation measures: to make mask wearing mandatory and the provision of HEPA air filtration units where appropriate (noting this would incur a maintenance overhead). 

LUCU Committee

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Winter Break & LUCU Office Closure

Winter Break & LUCU Office Closure

The LUCU office will be closed from 5pm today, Friday 17th December, and will re-open (and respond to enquiries) on Wednesday 5th January.

We all hope you have a great winter break.

In the meantime, should you need it, the Education Support Partnership is a free service for our members, remaining active 24/7 throughout the winter break. They provide counselling, support, financial assistance and more.

Phone: 08000 562 561

Text: 07909 341229

Email: support@edsupport.org.uk

Website: https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/helping-you/

LUCU Committee

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Notice of General Meeting: USS & Four Fights

Notice of General Meeting: USS & Four Fights

LUCU members are invited to attend our branch General Meeting on Wednesday 12th January 2022 from 1pm.  This meeting is open to all members of UCU in the Loughborough University branch and will be held online via Microsoft Teams.

The agenda for this meeting will include USS Pensions and Four Fights. There is a branch delegates’ meeting preceding the HEC on the 18th January where further decisions around industrial action will be made.  This meeting will offer members the opportunity to inform how LUCU’s delegates report back to UCU on the action thus far and future strategy.

If you have a motion you wish the branch membership to consider please submit by no later than 1pm on Wednesday 5th January. If you want to raise a motion and need some help or guidance then please contact the branch secretary, Marc Gibson, who can advise or, if appropriate, put you in touch with another committee member to help.

The agenda will be sent out 1 week before the meeting along with any motions received as will a link to join the meeting.

LUCU Committee

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