Result of ‘Defend pensions’ ballot of USS members. October 2017

Message from Sally Hunt:
I wanted to let you know about the result of the ballot.
86.6% of members who voted said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend USS pension benefits on a turnout of 55.8% of those eligible.

This turnout – if replicated in a statutory ballot – well exceeds the 50% turnout requirement set by the government as the minimum legal requirement.
Thank you for your support of the union. Later today, your elected negotiators will begin detailed talks with the employers. No one should be in any doubt about the difficulty of the task they are undertaking on your behalf.
Universities UK (UUK), which represents the USS institutions in these negotiations, recognises that institutions have the ability to pay extra in order to safeguard existing benefits. However so far they have said that this is not an option and unless we can change their minds or persuade both UUK and USS itself to adjust their valuation methodology, detrimental change is inevitable.
Some employers have even signalled that they wish to move wholly to a scheme in which your pension income will be dependent on what returns if any there are from the investment of your contributions in the stock market – in essence a pension with no guarantees.
I hope our ballot result concentrates the minds of your employers. All we want is for them to stand up for staff and help us to protect your interests in the fund rather than look away while benefits are cut.
Be in no doubt that I and colleagues will try to solve this difficult dispute but if we need to seek your support for action it is good to know that you are with us in such large numbers.