The Director of Regulatory Policy said "Trustees should negotiate robustly with the sponsoring employer to secure a fair deal for the pension scheme, while employers should balance the interests of pension savers with returns to shareholders and investors....
... We are working more closely than ever with trustees to support them in this process". So, USS should be negotiating with @UniversitiesUK to provide the best deal for scheme members. USS should be looking after our interests. Are they?
It would seem that we are being asked to vote because our individual perspectives should have some weight. And thus, it should matter that some of us have calculated that we *simply cannot live in retirement* on what they are offering. 2/9
Nor did we sign up to be impoverished in retirement when we took our jobs - we were offered terms that have already been reduced twice, in 2011 and in 2014. Each time we were told that would be the last change to the scheme. Each time that was a lie. So we struck now. 3/9
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
Part one of a series of posts explaining why I think there's about to be another crisis in UK HE. 1/x
The most important alarm bell: HoC Education SC, Feb 21st 2018, @PeterHorrocks answers a question about his salary, justifying it thus: "We are going to have to carry out the largest restructuring redundancy programme ever in UK university history" 2/x parliament.uk/business/commi…
This announcement by @PeterHorrocks didn't surprise me (though the salary context did) because he'd already said to the Guardian in Nov 2017 that he was planning "many, many hundreds of job losses in the university". 3/x theguardian.com/higher-educati…
Same aim as the one from 2014: to serve the #ucustrike#ussstrike. Please distribute / send additions / corrections.
First, I need to add a couple of missing things to the 2014 timeline. I was trying to find Imperial College London’s response to UUK on USS’s consultation, but the link on their website no longer works. But it has been stored elsewhere. #ucustrike#ussstrikes
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…
As the #USS dispute goes on, it's clearer than ever that the institutions that govern our pensions have been failing us in multiple ways. They are secretive, non-transparent, marked by conflicts of interest and revolving doors. We need to open up and #DemocratizeUSS.
Of the 5 “independent” Trustees of #USS, 4 have a background working for investment and financial services companies, the 5th used to work for Rio Tinto, the mining company, running their gold mines in Papua New Guinea.
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)
Over the weekend, I have been fixated on trying to understand all that happened in 2014 as key to the current (2018) university pensions crisis #ucustrike#ussstrike. An earlier thread is attached below. #ucustrike#ussstrikes
When I'm not on strike, I usually research by piecing together published, archival & grey literatures to build up a rich tapestry through which to get a grip on shifting phenomena. How do 'objects' & phenomena gain consistency & tractability? How do they change in form?
So here are some of the things (official lit, grey literatures, weblinks, newspaper/magazine articles etc.) that are currently in my "What happened around pensions, USS & UUK in 2014?" folder #ucustrike#ussstrikes
Today's reading: getting to grips w recent history of UUK, particularly in relation to 2014 consultation on USS funding. Placing these public links on Twitter for others to read, digest & use as we piece together last few years.
Too tired to comment today. #ucustrike#USsstrikes
UUK's response (2 December 2014) to USS consultation document on 2014 Actuarial Valuation (October 2014). Document provides glimpse of how UUK, working with their advisers Aon Hewitt, was thinking at the end of 2014 employerspensionsforum.co.uk/sites/default/…
I am now slowly reading through the university (& college) responses to the 2014 UUK USS valuation consultations -- only possible because of all @nm_davies's amazing FOI work. (Search under 2014 AND USS & UUK here whatdotheyknow.com) #ucustrike#ussstrike
The #USSstrike has got many people thinking for the first time about pension governance, and about the agenda for overhauling the pension system that the left is going to have to pursue in the years ahead. Here's a thread with some useful reading.
And an excellent piece by Christine Berry @oeufling for @openDemocracy@openDemocracyUK on the "hot mess" of the UK pension system and the iniquities of how financial intermediaries are taking us all for a ride:
We know from recent events that UUK isn't always the most technologically proficient. Maybe they forgot to take the watermark off. Maybe they forgot to put them behind the firewall. Who knows. #ussstrike#ucustrike
How do we understand the relationship between policy change, consultancy behaviour -- and, crucially, the behaviour of Universities UK in relation to pensions? So I started looking at the work of parliamentary committees and where Aon Hewitt appears #ucustrikes#ussstrikes
1. Seen a video which has upset me. King's College London - people trying to debate views which I presume I would find disgusting considering previous things they have said, has resulted in people needing hospital treatment. I find it unnerving to see
2. smoke bombs being let off and violence in University lecture halls. It is unsettling that the supposed good girls & guys are wearing all black, masked and punching people. When did this change occur?
3. When university windows are being smashed in I can't help but call to mind the idea that totalitarianism comes for academics and learning first. I doubt those debaters had any good ideas to offer, I really don't think I would like what they say
In case you haven't yet read @gailfdavies' fantastic tweets on the role of consultants in embedding a particular vision of 'flexible retirement' as the norm in universities, start with tweet below & then follow the tweets -- & links -- to the present #ucustrike#ussstrike