6th March 2020
Open letter from the Surrey UCU Committee regarding the USS Pension and the ‘Four Fights’ [Pay and Equality] disputes.
We are writing to you with a formal request for information. We believe that the present position of University of Surrey, in relation to the two national disputes, should be communicated as transparently as possible.
As you will be aware, the employer representatives have returned to national negotiations with UCU but with the caveat at present that they do not have a mandate from enough Vice-Chancellors to make improved offers. This is particularly relevant to the pay element of the Four Fights dispute, and the UCU position that the employers should cover member contributions increases in the USS dispute.
Please could you answer the following questions:
(1) How did this University respond in the recent USS consultation?
a) Did this University agree to increase contributions by 1%?
b) Did this University agree to increase its share by 0.5%?
c) Or was the University one of the 84% which are still unwilling to take on any more contributions?
(2) If the University is unwilling to pay RPI +3%, what improvements to the headline pay offer of 1.8% is it willing to make, in order to reverse over a decade of real terms pay cuts?
(3) Can the University commit to providing a workload model based in hours to all of your staff? If not, why not?
(4) Given that over a decade of data – gathered by, among others, yourselves – has repeatedly shown a systemic differential in pay, based on gender & ethnicity, is the University willing to commit to developing a concrete action plan to close these equalities pay gaps?
(5) Is the University willing to reduce the number of fixed term contracts it currently uses? What targets about when and how this will occur will you/the University set?
(6) We do not as yet have a formal agreement governing the contractual conditions of hourly-paid staff. What targets about when and how this will occur will you/the University set?
(7) Do you have a formal change management policy that involves meaningful consultation before announcing redundancies, either voluntary or compulsory? Are you willing to negotiate a redundancy avoidance agreement?
(8) Is there a staff or student representative on your remuneration committee that considers the salary of senior management including the vice-chancellor? Do you attend the meetings where your pay is established? If so, why?
We look forward to your responses, which we formally request to communicate to Surrey UCU Members and our UCU colleagues more widely.
Surrey UCU Committee