So @colette147 since you just sent yet another email to members to which I cannot respond, let me do so here: many of us sent you a letter asking you why you posted misleading information when opening the ballot. You have yet to respond #USSstrike 1/
Our question was: why did you collapse 'revise and resubmit' and 'no detriment' and offered no plan B is the vote is 'no'. Instead of responding, you outline yet again why you recommend 'yes'. This is the third time you have done so @colette147#USSstrike 2/
This time you start your email with a link 'click here to vote'. Why does the link not go to the ballot @colette147? Why does it go to your previous email also recommending 'yes'? Is this your version of democratic procedures? And how you inform your members? #USSstrike 3/
“The starting point is the duty of trustees to exercise their powers in the best interests of the present and future beneficiaries of the trust.. The duty of the trustees towards their beneficiaries is paramount.“ Megarry J, Cowan v Scargill, a case on a pension fund. 1/4
He continued:”the best interests of the beneficiaries are normally their best financial interests”. In financial regulation, “best interests” is a positive duty on professionals: they must achieve them. The best financial interests of USS members are a Defined Benefit scheme. 2/4
This principle is the legal sun around which all other pensions law moons revolve. The trustee must look to the best interests of the members. That does not entitle them to prioritise employers’ wishes over members best interests. 3/4
It is becoming clearer and clearer that all feedbacks from votes from union branches show demands for substantial amendments to the proposal (ranging for asking institutional guarantees with TPR/USS to a full #NoDetriment clause). I of course fully agree with these demands. 1/9
However pls do not get distracted from the real shit that is happening in the backstage: an intentionally vague proposal has been written by UUK (never discussed by the union negociators who saw it 1h before) and released unilaterally last Friday evening. 2/9
It was then backed up immediately by Sally Hunt, with no guarantees in this proposal AND with the trick of pushing for an e-ballot to the members on this very text. The whole trap is here. 3/9
Important: on amending the current "offer" from UUK. A number of people have asked whether it is possible to argue for an amendment/counter offer at this stage. Here we explain, given confirmed information about the status of this offer, why this is possible & necessary...
First: the "offer" does *not* have the status of an agreed or negotiated offer between UUK and our negotiating team. Has now been confirmed by an elected negotiator, that a) the text has *not* undergone any discussion/negotiation by the negotiators, b) it arrived Fri. 2.30pm...
as part of a conference call and was released to members just after 4pm - a space of 2 hours-ish, with no modification or assessment by the negotiators, c) UCU negotiators *were told that they could not make any changes to the text* as it was a UUK document, d) the negotiators...
While I agree with all the #NoDetriment statements about being naive to trust UUK/'indepdendent' panel, & related demands/amendements suggested for the statement, believing that a more specific clause would be the end of the struggle is equally naive. 2/9
We could strike until we got everything we wanted writ down,but at some point we'll go back to work (!)&then inevitably pension manager crooks will continue attempts to subvert the agreement, inc using requirements of the pensions regulator to continually revisit arrangements 3/9
To clarify: there is a win but it is only on pushing the timetable. There is no clear win in *substance* of offer. As many have pointed out, a) DB until April 2019 was guaranteed anyway, b) the Independent Panel is worded as within a) "regulatory framework" and ...ctd.
...b) "affordability". There is no commitment to look at framework ( = assumptions that caused the deficit) or approach the Pensions Regulator/Gov't on that, so deficit is built in (maybe slightly smaller, but still there). So no actual commitment in offer that secures...
DB benefit structure. Additionally: the part that mentions looking at solution "broadly" in line with DB benefits, not a guarantee of any kind - remember UUK thought new DC scheme was broadly in line with existing DB - "broadly" is v broad for them...In sum...
I'm glad we have more time to consider the new proposed #USS deal. But I think what we have in time, we lack in detail. It's a victory I think, in as far as how much #USSStrike has pushed UUK back. But I have deep concerns #nodetriment#nocapitulation
I think the proposal doesn't offer the guarantees it should, the ones we deserve. Status quo till April 2019 is a smokescreen - we were always getting that so it's a misleading headline #USSStrike#nodetriment#nocapitulation
I'm very concerned that as @JosephineCumbo has revealed, UUK and UCU seem to have very different ideas about what's actually on the table. And if there's not a single interpretation then there's too much room for error and backsliding IMO #USSStrike#nocapitulation#nodetriment
Just wondering why @UniversitiesUK & #uss can’t just back down now on DC? Why is a new panel & more delay & stress for all of us a victory? Are we really getting excited that they have said the panel would recognise our concerns re DB? #nocapitulation#UCUStrike#ussstrike
2/ is this what we’re losing 14 days pay over? Another panel & no guarantees? After we basically showed up the problems w de-risking, huge potential equalities issues (which they can’t realistically address before 2019 bc they appear to be starting from zero on that score ...
3/ ... and they know we’re onto them re financialisation of pensions, & we all now are talking about the DB/DC fight, which has immense implications for other occupational pensions ...
What would happen if #UUK was disbanded (or University leaders all withdrew their membership of it) - other than huge cost savings for universities. Just think how many students' tuition fees it takes to pay their staff's salaries. *ponders* #USSstrike#nocapitulation#UCU
UUK has ~100 members, so a rough average is £74,000 per member university. Which is 8.2 student years per university (assuming 9k/yr/student). I can think of better ways of spending that money #USSstrike#nocapitulation@ucu#ucu@VianBakir1
1/ RUMOUR MILL: UUK has hired Saatchi & Saatchi (London). I'm not going into detail into Saatchi & Saatchi's history. You can check it out on Wikipedia. Here's an image of what they have at the entrance of London office. "Nothing is impossible": does that include rescuing UUK?
2/ CAVEAT EMPTOR: I'm a historian, not specialised in anything to do with PR. If you're an academic specialised in the history and present of the PR industry, I'd deeply appreciate it if you could verify/falsify my speculations.
Quickly pulling past thoughts together, here’s a collation of my last two weeks of threads on value, politics and knowledge in #ucustruke. I’ve ordered these explorations of the sites making the #uss pension dispute through the intersection of different registers of value
It started with a rant to those who said academics needed to join the real world, which at root was an argument about unrecognised academic surplus labour, accumulated as *surplus-value* by universities whilst vital to other innovation processes
It was quickly clear other knowledges were being mobilized, in particular by management consultancies creating new spaces of *speculative value* both in the management of higher education and in the move to DC pensions. Inspired by @CLIVEYB I started here
A long and possibly fruitless thread here on HEFCE’s 2007-2010 funding of 3 projects for the Employers Pension Forum. These were focused on developing a 10 year strategy for reform of pensions in the higher education sector #USSstrikes#NoCapitulation
Much of this is well-known, particularly the letter wrote by UCU Head of Higher Education, Michael MacNeil in summer 2010, to Alan Langlands (then Chief Exec at HEFCE) expressing concern about the one-sided nature of these EPF projects timeshighereducation.com/news/pension-r…
It was felt by UCU that these projects allowed the EPF to, amongst other things, develop a PR offensive which impacted upon the 2010 pension reform negotiations (resulting in the introduction of a career average pension scheme) ucu.org.uk/article/4739/C…
This thread ⬇️ still sums up my thoughts on what would be enough. I’m going to expand in a personal note to @ExeterUCU. If you have liked or RTed this, i wonder if you might like to do the same with your branch rep #nocapitulation#ucustrike#letsdoprocess
For me, point 2 refers to retaining current DB/DC mix, with potential to revise some key parameters - thresholds, accrual rates, contributions etc within acas negotiated offer - after evidence from new independent valuation, modelling of impact for ecr and addressing governance
This looks like good news from @TPRgovuk, opening the door to a #USS deal on the basis of the Sept 2017 valuation involved in the initial @UCU recovery plan, if only the remaining hold-out VCs will accept this. 1/x
But we should in any case beware one kind of mistake which comes from treating @TPRgovuk as some unmovable exogenous constraint on a #USS deal. (1) The #tPR view itself is in part a function of VC’s avowed positions on risk levels. 2/x
And, (2) as @AdamJTucker has pointed out, there is a good degree of flexibility in how @TPRgovuk operates, and its regulatory framework allows space for appropriate intervention from the government. See embedded thread:
19 September 2014: Here are slides from presentation "USS Update – AHUA Conference, 19 Sept. 2014". AHUA is the representative body for senior University managers in UK & Ireland. As far as I can see, the AHUA does not go back to conferences before 2016 ahua.ac.uk/event-type/con…
USS Update – AHUA Conference, 19 Sept. 2014:
Here is the 5th slide. Notice the Employers Pensions Forum footer. The slide is titled UUK response to USS.
USS Update – AHUA Conference, 19 Sept. 2014. (Not available on the AHUA website)
The rumours are true. We are academic lawyers looking at crowd funding for specialist legal advice on the issues raised in the USS pension scheme. #USSstrike@ucu
We are about to instruct a solicitor. We have a top pensions QC lined up to advise us on the issues and the scope for claims against the USS trustees. @ucu#USSstrike
The crowd funding site will be up and running in a couple of days. Pensions law is really complex and the QC we've got lined up is the best of the best. If 5000 can give us £10 each then we'll be good to go. #USSstrike