Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #USSStrike

Most recents (24)

I'm fascinated by how #USS uses the phrase "in isolation" in attempts to neutralise far-reaching critiques of its modelling and methods.

Exhibit 1: MarshGate re #Test1 (cc @Sam_Marsh101)

"Dr Marsh’s analysis is not wrong in isolation ..."… 1/ screen shot from weblink in tweet
Exhibit 2: Rebuffing the #JEP

"Each of the [JEP] panel's recommendations is worthy of consideration in isolation, but ..."…

2/ screen shot from web link in tweet
Read 4 tweets
For all of us grappling with what's happening in UK HE – gasping to keep our heads above water & struggling to understand all the actors & forces at work – I so so recommend @amcgettigan's "The Great University Gamble: Money, markets & the future of HE"… 1/
”The Great University Gamble” is centred around privatisation of HE — the “plan & the gamble” — as McGettigan frames it — & published in 2013. It covers creation of HE market; deregulation & deprofessionalization; university financing (incl bonds); private equity; governance 2/ Screenshot of contents page of book
Re-reading it post #USSstrike, I am struck by how McGettigan identifies the cleavage (evident from at least 2010 and possibly well before) btw #UUK/mission groups & the interests of academics, students, & public in general 3/
Read 8 tweets
And as if like clockwork, an intervention from The Pensions Regulator -- we assume circulated to employers also, since it's been made public by UCU -- at a critical moment in the #USS dispute. Are we in 2018 or 2017? 1/
Remember TPR's ltr to Eastwood (Sept 17)

And #JEP later said: "It appears to the Panel that the Regulator's influence has been disproportionate. Some of those giving evidence... have suggested that the Regulator's views have steered employers' decisions."… screen shot of first page of ltr linked to in text
(It's at this point that @acupunctureUSS realised he needed to help out with this thread, gifs not being my strong suit) #GroundHogDay #USSstrike #2018or2017 #aesthetic)
Read 14 tweets
Shall we place bets on the likelihood of a certain pension consultancy being involved in this @etymologic? #USS
In comparison with solidarity that stretched across university sector during #USSstrike, Trinity College Cambridge, one of richest educational institutions found anywhere, makes entirely selfish decision to pull out of #USS through invoking spectre of the 'last man standing' risk
Read 16 tweets
So: #USS is undertaking a new valuation (of funding position in March 2018). 1/ #USSstrike
Bill Galvin, #USS CEO, implicitly puts onus on #UUK for problems of 2017 valuation, stating that employers had given a "very clear view" to USS to "take less risk than was laid out in its [USS's] original proposals"… 2/ screen shot of part of document linked to in tweet
There is clearly dispute between #USS and #UUK over this: the #JEP, we should remember, said that it had 'not taken a view' on the differing perspectives of #UUK and #USS over the shift from the Sept to Nov TPs & valuation assumptions… 3/ screen shot of p. 45 of document linked to in tweet
Read 10 tweets
Wow, new @Firstactuarial report on #USS 2017 valuation is brutal about #USS Trustee: governance of #USS is an ongoing massive question

See section titled "Is the Trustee in control?" (h/t @Sam_Marsh101 @MikeOtsuka for link to report) #USStrike… 1/ screen shot from report linked to in tweetscreen shot from report linked to in tweet
I particularly enjoyed the sub-section that ends @RedActuary @Derek_Benstead's report on #USS valuation, titled – get this – "Alternative Facts". The final sentence reads: "So far as we are aware, this statement [by #USS] is untrue".… 2/2 screen shot of section of report discussed in tweet
Will Prof Sir David Eastwood, Chair of #USS Board of Trustees, VC of @unibirmingham, respond to @FirstActuarial's grave concerns over whether #USS Trustee is actually in control of #USS valuation? Or will Trustee continue its silence? #USSstrike…
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🚨 #USSstrike update 🚨

After general confusion, these motions from the NDC were heard, debated & carried yesterday, during a special meeting of @ucu higher education conference in Manchester. Outline of key info & events in a mini thread to follow 👇👇🏼👇🏾👇🏿
Eleven UCU branches signed to get the 2 motions onto the agenda as emergency motions, & delegates voted to accept the report of CBC (congress business committee) who recommended their inclusion. We applaud this grassroots reaction to them being originally left off the agenda ✊🏻
It appears the NDC motions were left off the agenda because HEC did not vote on the 2 motions, but rather put them forward for inclusion. This meant that their status was unofficial & CBC had no choice other than to reject them, as on a technical level they did not exist.
Read 10 tweets
My name is Felicity Callard & I deeply regret I cannot stop myself watching recordings of other universities' #USS pensions town hall meetings late in the evening.

And UCL's recent one was pretty darn amazing if you're into this kind of thing H/T @UCL_UCU
At 19 minutes you can hear UCL President & Provost reflect on what the less than 50% turn out on the pay & equality ballot means:

"So that particular concern about pay seems to have gone away for this year at least." Gone away for whom, we ask? 2/
At 22 minutes you can watch the President & Provost asking Phil (Harding) [UCL Finance Director & UUK negotiator] "to answer the Test 1 stuff because the technical aspects of that defeat [him]". Though he has read @Sam_Marsh101's stuff. 3/
Read 11 tweets
How much, exactly, *do* the #USS team understand about their own valuation?

And now, @Sam_Marsh101 opens back up those Latourian 'blackboxes' and exposes the modelling problems. And the #USS wrath is great 1/
And what about the various pieces of software – e.g. ORTEC – that are central to the #USS modelling? How blackboxed are these? How was ORTEC selected by #USS? Who within #USS is able to open up the ORTEC blackbox? #justwondering… 2/ screen shot from doc linked to in tweet about the ORTEC model
The ORTEC commissioning means stochastic risk modelling is now done 'in house'. But how well does #USS understand ORTEC innards?

Note they're keen to emphasise one of their risk function team 'pioneered stochastic risk models in finance' in early 90s.… 3/ paragraph about stochastic risk modelling from doc linked to in tweet
Read 5 tweets
This is getting exhausting. You get used to #USS remaining incommunicado. And now this is the 4th communication in 2 days.

They are very very keen that we know that 'There is no such error in #USS’s valuation' even as 'Dr Marsh’s analysis is not wrong in isolation' #USSstrike
Just saying: if you receive an essay where one short paragraph contains

3 sets of bold
1 instance of bold & italic
The phrase 'To be clear'
... & the adverb 'emphatically'

you might think writer is worried their points don't actually hold up… (see pdf) screen shot from attachment linked to in the web page
You've got to hand it to Bill & #USS.

19 April: Bill in leaked email to VCs:
Doubts about valuation were 'unwarranted'
Trustee 'cannot & will not resile from outcome of valuation.

They're gonna stick with their position through thick & thin #USSstrike… screen shot from weblink in tweet
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Looks as though @etymologic was right: trying to find that 3rd person is a fool's errand #USS #Test1

@Sam_Marsh101's threads imply:
✅ Current use of Test 1 irremediably broken
#NoDerisking #NoDetriment #NoDeficit
✅ Major governance questions for USS & UUK
#USSstrike 1/
We at @OpenUPP2018 @USSbriefs are collaborating with @Sam_Marsh101 this weekend to get his findings (and, crucially, their implications for current consultation & for #JEP phase 2) into #USSbriefs form so that they can be used by #UCU & #USS Scheme members ASAP 2/
We are all profoundly indebted to @Sam_Marsh101.

His efforts to acquire the necessary data from #USS (in the face of persistence resistance/reluctance) and then to analyse them to expose the car crash of Test 1, have taken over a year.

THANK YOU Sam. 🌿🍁🍃 #USSstrike
Read 3 tweets
Given importance of HE sector "there may be a case for future governments to consider alternative options" (incl "state-backed guarantee" or "measures enabling more risk-taking"). Powerful piece from @JMariathasan on #USS DB debate post-#JEP… #USSstrike 1/
Article argues that central problem lies in regulatory changes that transformed management of a DB pension scheme into "a risk management problem, not an investment one" 2/
Read 4 tweets
The sentence "#UUK & the #UCU have since agreed to explore risk-sharing alternatives from 2020, w a particular focus on a #CDC arrangement"… is particularly interesting, given CDC was not in ACAS agreement (simply discussion on 'alternative scheme designs')
A salutary quotation published today emphasising how easy it is to misconstrue #CDC (collective defined contribution) pensions as DB (NB In #CDC, risk is ALL on the employees):… screen shot with excerpt from article -- about CDC pensions
See also my reflections on #CDC back in July. The more that CDC (currently not possible in UK) is invoked – by various people – as a possible future for #USS, the more that potentiality becomes real. This we must resist. #USSstrike
Read 3 tweets
If university senior managers approach comms like this it's gonna be long while before they get trust back:

UCL Provost on #JEP "With the stock market performing more strongly...since the original valuation, the deficit is reduced" – blithely ignoring all substantive JEP points
When I first saw UUK's USS briefing slide, I thought they'd finally acknowledged need to improve modes of engagement, consultation, deliberation, communication.

But no, it's all about standardising their one-way messaging of 'facts' from UUK ▶️ universities ▶️ outwards
2/ Copy of
Epistemic & political challenges proliferate – but many actors insist ever more firmly that all that is needed is better one-way communication of (their) facts.

For those of us interested in #STS/public engagement w sci, the comms surrounding #USSstrike are quite something. 3/3
Read 3 tweets
After a few weeks away from Twitter, I'm back to think – alongside many others – about content & rhetoric of the #JEP.

And abt what we at @USSbriefs have been doing all summer w @OpenUPP2018 to encourage deliberations over #USS valuation to take place in public #USSstrike 1/
Many (incl. @NJSHardy @gailfdavies @DrJoGrady @etymologic @MikeOtsuka) have already provided cogent analyses of the #JEP report & its implications. So here I'll just going to pick out some of what has struck me most forcefully on a first read. #USSstrike 2/
1. There's a judicious use of rhetoric – particularly around 'confidence', '(mis)understanding' & 'communication'. This cleaves closely to that used by #UUK & Bill Galvin – whether that is deliberately so as to increase likelihood of acceptance by those parties, you can decide 3/
Read 5 tweets
UCU members have already demonstrated significant compromise. The ballot that ended strike action was a massive act of compromise. That compromise produced the JEP, & the JEP has vindicated & endorsed the position of UCU members. It has demonstrated the necessity of #USSstrike
The #USSstrike resulted in many of us losing 14 days pay. It required emotional support from loved ones. In some cases it diminished us in the eyes of some colleagues, and in other cases it resulted in punitive actions or threats from our employers.
If compromises are to be made, it is fair to demand they come from @UniversitiesUK & our employers. The JEP makes clear that with minor tweaks USS is sound. As such we need to understand the #USSstrike as employer initiated industrial action. We were left with no choice.
Read 6 tweets
It's been a pretty busy week at @USSbriefs HQ.

We published @BenPatrickWill's fantastic brief on what's coming down the chute in terms of transformation of HE into performance data. An essential read – & glorious @acupunctureUSS design #USSbriefs40… 1/
We published Richard Farndale's (in consultation with @CambridgeUCU Exec) excellent set of questions for the #JEP in our @OpenUPP2018 series #USSbriefs41… 2/
We published @carlomorelliUCU's excellent submission to #JEP (in our @OpenUPP2018 series) on the wider context & political economyof EU legislation – & discount rates – around pensions #USSbriefs42… 3/
Read 9 tweets
Adjudications of RISK remain absolutely central to on-going pension dispute.

An important point from @MikeOtsuka: employers need to be pushed on the level of *investment risk* they're willing to accept. #USSstrike
Keeping pressure on employers re level of risk they're willing to accept v important given Bill Galvin saying: "We will ... review our process for the valuation w employers, particularly the early discussions regarding their risk appetite & capacity"… 2/ screen shot from Bill Galvin blog post
We're back to central question of WHO IS (& WHO ISN'T) part of decision-making process re employer investment risk. How is risk conceptualised, & by whom? What & who gets left out? Which risks to university sector slip from view? 3/3 #USSstrike
Read 3 tweets
So Universities UK released a statement responding to the #USS announcements yesterday about contribution increases.

Notice the adjective "challenging" & the phrase "difficult decisions ... over financial priorities"… #USSstrike 1/ screen shot of the press release linked to in the tweet
We should recall that the leaked UUK briefing paper to employers laid out their 'initial views' vis-à-vis the institutional consequences that they believe would follow from increased contributions… 2/
The UUK briefing paper… included potential impacts that would bear on staff (headcount, reward, recruitment) and on capital expenditure (capital investment, ongoing business projects) 3/ screen shot of briefing paper
Read 7 tweets
I've been catching up w latest on CDC pensions after yesterday's report from Work & Pensions Cttee… #USSstrike

TL;dr: I predict even more enthusiasm from UUK about CDC in coming months as part of long-term plan to remove DB to reduce pension liabilities 1/
REMINDER: Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pensions share risk *between* the members of the scheme. CDC means that employers are not exposed to the risks associated with DB plans. i.e. Risk is transferred from employer ---> employees… 2/
The 16 July report from Work & Pensions Cttee gave enthusiastic thumbs up to enabling CDC for Royal Mail "in a way which will allow other companies to follow suit". Report speaks of a "new wave of collective pensions in the UK"… 3/
Read 10 tweets
We at @USSbriefs HQ have spent lots of weekends & evenings getting our first briefs ready for OpenUPP. Our efforts to Open Up the #USS Joint Expert Panel start for real today, as we challenge the epistemic landscape of #USS #pensions dispute #USSstrike 1/ screen shot of press release linked to in tweetscreen shot of press release linked to in tweet
Our first #OpenUPP2018 brief is 'Opening up the USS Joint Expert Panel', by me. I explain why we at @USSbriefs are so committed to Opening Up the #JEP, & provide thumbnail reflections on the 7 people who make up that closed panel… 2/
Our second #OpenUPP2018 brief is an 'Open Letter from Academics for Pensions Justice' (@ForPension) which demands that #USS provides full disclosure of data, assumptions & the modelling approach underpinning the 2017 valuation to JEP… #USSbriefs26 3/
Read 4 tweets
I need help from those in PR.

In my ongoing efforts to track the very recent history of UUK/EPF I'm wondering if 'myths & misunderstandings' is a standard PR trope used to reframe a debate, or a particular discursive tic of Alistair Jarvis #USSstrike… 1/
In Jarvis's recent blog ('Have we "miseducated a generation" about student finance?') he argues that 'myths & misunderstandings' have allegedly led to students having – wait for it – *MISGUIDED* concerns about 'high costs & debt' 💰💰💰… #YesUniCan 2/ Screen shot from blog post linked to in tweet -- including phrase myths and misunderstandings
'Myths, Misunderstandings & Misconceptions" (EPF, Oct 14, doc author=Alistair Jarvis) argues: 'Many of the comments & claims that have been made against the case for necessary [USS] reform are based on misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the facts'… 3/ screen shot of doc linked to in tweet
Read 9 tweets
What does it mean when VCs call themselves CEOs or ‘bosses’ of universities?
Now thinking critically about the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education - established by UUK - which embeds certain subjectivities in types, styles, personalities, approaches of HE leadership.
The role of (inappropriate) sports analogies and weird sexual or gendered language in VC culture - universities trying to push for the ‘champions league’, universities who need to ‘mate’ with similar institutions (David Willetts!)
Read 56 tweets
In my efforts to understand configurations of discourse & representation around UK pensions in 21st century, I've been fascinated, today, by Pendragon's competition, running since 2003, titled the "Art of Pensions" 1/
#USSstrike screen shot of website linked to in tweet
The Pendragon "Art of Pensions" is a full-scale competition – with a whole raft of categories (e.g. see…). The winners & long-listed entries are all available for perusal on the Pendragon site 2/ screen shot from website linked to in tweet
The archive stretches from the early 21st century, through the economic collapse of 2008, & up to 2016 (I'm not sure what happened to the competition in 2017).

In addition to visual materials themselves, you can search by name of artist (some appear several times) & company 3/
Read 8 tweets

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