Some motions submitted to Special Higher Education Sector Conferences on pay and pensions, 7 November 2018

Three motions from Oxford UCU submitted to SHESC

Motion #1 on Pay & Equality

‘Expand NDC to include Pay and Equality in remit’

Conference notes the formation of the National Dispute Committee for the USS dispute.

Conference resolves:

1 To expand the National Dispute Committee so that it includes post-92 representation and for this expanded NDC to include the HE Pay and Equality dispute as part of its remit.

2 Per Congress conventions, NDC meetings will be divided into a Pay and Equality segment for all representatives and a USS segment for USS representatives.

Motion #2 on Pay & Equality:

‘Study best timing and duration of ballots’

Conference notes:

1 That while the turnout for our recent ballot was the highest yet for a Pay and Equality ballot, most branches were below threshold, so we should look for all possible optimisations for future.

2 The turnout was higher in the previous USS ballot, and one contributing factor may be the different timing in the academic year.

Conference calls on HEC to:

1 Study the best timing and duration for ballots, as well as the pros and cons of running concurrent ballots, by examining past ballots and gathering information from branches on their academic terms/semesters.

2 Consider how to shift the timing of the annual pay negotiations to be more favourable for us.

3 Report back to members at the 2019 Congress.

Motion #3 on USS/JEP:

‘Enable NDC to submit motions to Congress and Conference’

Conference notes:

1 The formation of the National Dispute Committee to steer the USS dispute.

2 That the NDC is not among the list of committees which may submit motions to Congress or HE conference, as the rules have not yet been updated.

Conference resolves to amend the UCU rules as follows:

Rule 16.7.1: following “under Rule 25”, add “, National Dispute Committees”

New rule to be added following 16.7.5:

16.7.6: National Dispute Committees will each be entitled to submit two motions and two amendments to Congress, and two motions and two amendments to their relevant Sector Conference(s).

Motion from UCL UCU

USS – National Dispute Committee: strengthening accountability during industrial action

Conference welcomes the work of the National Dispute Committee (NDC) and thanks its members for their hard work.

Conference notes that the NDC was set up by a decision of HEC that changed it from a large delegate body elected by branches (as originally intended, to address identified democratic deficits) to a committee elected as a subset of, and from, HESC delegates.

Conference resolves that if members are balloted for industrial action over USS, the NDC will be formally reconstituted on the same basis as Higher Education Sector Conference. The NDC will then have the same pro-rata delegate entitlement per branch and be formally constituted to permit delegates to make decisions about the conduct of the dispute. For the duration of the dispute the NDC will then replace informal ‘consultation meetings of branch delegates’ with no voting powers.

Two motions passed by Newcastle UCU, 24 October 2018 


Conference welcomes the JEP report and further notes that

  •  JEP has shown that the contribution increases imposed on members for this valuation are the result of failures in scheme governance, regulatory oversight, and employers’ handling of consultations and negotiations
  • JEP does not address the employers ‘contributions holiday’
  • USS’s valuation rests on a mistake in calculating Test 1

As a result, there is no deficit in the scheme and no need for detrimental changes to benefits or contributions

Conference calls on universities:

  • To acknowledge that USS is not in deficit
  • To pay for any contribution increases still deemed necessary for this valuation after Universities UK, USS, and the Pensions Regulator have responded to the report
  • To urge universities to repay the deducted wage of those staff who took strike action during the dispute that resulted directly from universities’ own errors.

Reballot on Casualisation, Equality and Pay

Conference notes

  • That only seven branches exceeded 50% turnout in the recent ballot for industrial action
  • That Newcastle University UCU had 46.7% turnout
  • That many branches had turnouts of 35% or more
  • That many members are concerned this suggests a lack of interest in casualisation and equality
  • Therefore conference resolves
  • to redefine the dispute as “casualisation, equality, and pay”
  • to reballot all branches with turnout between 35% and 50%
  • to plan a campaign for the exam period in spring 2019.

Motion: The JEP Report – who pays? Passed unanimously by UCL UCU on 3 October 

HESC notes

1. The historic 14 days of strike action and the threat of further action that forced the employers to abandon 100% DC and led to the JEP report;

2. The triggering of rule 76.4 imposing cost-sharing of 40%+ increased contributions;

3. The contents of the JEP report that noted the scheme was not at imminent risk of default and it was UUK’s attempt to reduce the Employers’ Covenant that triggered de-risking;

4. As an interim measure the JEP proposed that total contributions should rise from 26 to 29.2% of salary, an increase of more than 12% in contributions.

HESC resolves

1. To call on the employers to pick up the full cost of increased contributions;

2. To ballot members for industrial action if either a) the employers fail to accept the JEP report in full or b) the employers attempt to pass on costs they have generated onto employees.

Motion on JEP passed by Lancaster UCU 

LUCU welcomes the JEP report and notes that –

1.            While JEP recommends that the Scheme valuation could be much improved to maintain existing benefits, the 2nd phase of JEP that reviews existing methodology for alternatives is yet incomplete,

2.            there is no agreement as yet, with UUK consulting employers over proposals while concurrently USS is consulting members on cost-sharing,

3.            JEP does not address the employers irresponsible ‘contributions holiday’ while recommending an increase in contributions to maintain existing benefits,

4.            members’ interests need to be protected as the dispute is not yet over.

This branch believes that –

1.            UCU’s democratic structures and members should determine the outcome through the elected JNC,

2.            that the National Disputes Committee should guide the JNC based on policy determined at HE conference,

3.            the employers should bear the costs for any contribution increases till the JEP publishes its final report.

Motion on JEP report passed by Goldsmiths UCU on 17 October 

Goldsmiths UCU notes 

  • the sacrifices of UCU members in taking strike action to reject the proposed and unnecessary changes to the USS pension scheme
  • that the JEP report justifies our position in taking this action given the clear flaws in the 2017 valuation process
  • the proposed increase in contributions to maintain existing benefits is due to start in 2019

This branch believes that

  • members should not bear the cost of any increased contributions which should instead be covered by the employers
  • any final offer from the employers in relation to the JEP report must be put to members
  • the National Dispute Committee should guide the JNC based on policy determined at SHEC.

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