In January 2018, UUK announced that it would move on with a proposal to reform the USS pension provision. The proposal involved a move from the current scheme when defined contribution (DC) benefits are only earned on salary over £55,550, with defined benefits (DB) earned on salary below the threshold, into a new provision by which DC benefits are earned on all of the members' salary.
In response to UCU's call for strike across the universities affected by the change, UUK initially maintained that it was not prepared to renegotiate the proposal. However on 27 February, during the second week of strike, UUK accepted to sit at the negotiation table with UCU under the auspices of Acas.
Negotiations at Acas resulted in a first proposal for a solution of the dispute, which involved a revised benefit reform proposal on 12th March 2018. The new proposal however was refused by UCU branches.
After the end of the first weeks of strike, UCU's announcement that it was prepared to call a further round of strike, and the resignation of hundreds of External Examiners in support of the action, UUK put forward a new proposal on 23rd March 2018 involving the constitution of a panel of independent experts, jointly appointed with UCU, to review the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) valuation and to agree key principles to underpin the future approach to the valuation of the USS fund. UCU's General Secretary Sally Hunt provides some answers to the questions on this deal.
Some UCU members believe the two offers of 12th and 23rd March are essentially the same and lacks clarity. Additionally, those at the lower income are substantially affected by the new proposals thereby increasing inequality - see the section on AthenaSWAN for more information. An open letter calling for a 'No' vote is in circulation. The negotiations are ongoing and some information is collated here. Additionally, a group of USS members have put together briefs to inform the membership on the 23rd March offer. These are at https://ussbriefs.com