Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #ussstrike

Most recents (24)

.@grendlesmordor requested that I tweet the text of an email I sent to the VC @UniofReading so that the visually impaired could read it. Here it is. #ussstrike.

1/
@grendlesmordor @UniofReading Dear Robert,

I was disappointed to receive this email from you, for a variety of reasons. I will not go into all of these, but would like to highlight one particular omission in it that goes to the heart of the issue.
2/
@grendlesmordor @UniofReading I am both a member of staff and a student Reading, as are many other PhD students. Your email gives the impression that people must be one or the other. There are in fact hundreds of us who are in both roles at once.

3/
Read 10 tweets
We need to talk about the relationship between casualisation, workload and bullying and why those who need unions most can be the hardest to organise

Thread
A lot of People have expressed disappointment in staff on permanent contracts having let down precarious staff in the recent UCU ballots. The argument is that while so many precarious workers came out to support the #USSStrike, that solidarity has now not been returned.
@davidhuyssen does an excellent analysis of that argument and why it is flawed. The assumption that precarious workers all returned their ballots because they better understood the stakes than those on secure contracts is unlikely to be completely true.

Read 24 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." academicfreedom.watch/sites/default/… 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
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" uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run… 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 ussjep.org.uk/files/2018/09/… 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 ucu.org.uk/media/9971/Fir… 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". ucu.org.uk/media/9971/Fir… 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 ucu.org.uk/media/9971/Fir…
Read 9 tweets
🚨 #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
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 google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j… 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. google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j… 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
uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run… (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 dmtrk.net/2PRX-OYCT-C952… screen shot from weblink in tweet
Read 3 tweets
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
3/3
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 ipe.com/analysis/blogs… #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" pensions-expert.com/Law-Regulation… 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): pensionsage.com/pa/CDC-will-be… 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 https://twitter.com/USSbriefs/status/1041685053359702017
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 medium.com/ussbriefs/numb… 1/
We published Richard Farndale's (in consultation with @CambridgeUCU Exec) excellent set of questions for the #JEP in our @OpenUPP2018 series #USSbriefs41 medium.com/ussbriefs/cruc… 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 medium.com/ussbriefs/euro… 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" uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run… 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" universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/Pro… #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 academicfreedom.watch/sites/default/… 2/
The UUK briefing paper academicfreedom.watch/sites/default/… 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 parliament.uk/business/commi… #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 ft.com/content/64ae04… 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" publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cm… 3/
Read 10 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 universitiesuk.ac.uk/blog/Pages/Hav… 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' 💰💰💰 universitiesuk.ac.uk/blog/Pages/Hav… #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' warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statis… 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. lfhe.ac.uk
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" artofpensions.com/exhibition.php 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 artofpensions.com/winners.php?ye…). 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
For anyone confused about how #ourUCU came out of #UCU2018, some quick background information: Two motions (10 & 11, below), which were critical of the General Secretary's part in the #USSstrike, were passed by branches. They were submitted to Congress & ruled onto the agenda. 1/
At #UCU2018 delegates from the two branches @KCL_UCU & @ExeterUCU were pressured to withdraw these motions. See their accounts here: kcl.ac.uk/unions/ucu/KCL… and exeterucu.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/exe… 2/
This was due to pressure from the local @unitetheunion branch, which represents @UCU staff, including Sally Hunt. The General Secretary is the most senior elected representative in UCU, but they argued that because she is an employee, #UCU2018 could not discuss motions 10 & 11 /3
Read 10 tweets
I've been reading up on the 3 UUK nominees for the UUK–UCU Joint Expert Panel: Ronnie Bowie, Sally Bridgeland, and Chris Curry ipe.com/countries/uk/u… #USSStrike 1/
Let's start with Ronnie Bowie, Partner at Hymans Robertson, who 'works as a Scheme Actuary & Investment Adviser to a number of large private & public sector schemes and has built a reputation as a respected expert witness' hymans.co.uk/people-finder/…
I've been going back to 10 or so years, looking at how actuarial science is discussed before and after the 2008 economic crisis. I am outsider to the field – approaching it as someone who researches recent histories & geographies of various human sciences
Read 41 tweets
It's Friday. This is a thread about holidays, & mini-breaks.
And pensions & USS.
#ofcourse #ussstrike

And in particular about UUK's commitment to ensuring that phrase "contribution holiday" cannot be pinned on to them. So it's a thread about a discursive battle.
I'm indebted here to on-going work by @deepa_driver @ProfKurtMills @acupunctureUSS on contribution holidays (& contribution 'mini-breaks' [thanks @acupunctureUSS]).

I'm going to focus here just on the language used rather than the underpayments/holidays/reductions themselves.
As most of us know, asides from UUK's famous, multiple tweet responses of "happy to meet tomorrow" made on 5 March, UUK communicated very little via Twitter during #USSstrike with those on strike.
Read 15 tweets

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