Response to UCU proposal
Sent 27 January, 2022
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.