Dear Colleagues, 

Even though we have yet to reach agreement across the sector on pensions, our commitment to you remains unchanged: we will advocate strongly to secure long-term pension security for you and work with you on an overall remuneration package that is sustainable, equitable and fair.

The national negotiating bodies, UUK and UCU, have yet to find a way to a mutually agreeable solution. We know the continued uncertainty is a source of stress and frustration that is made more complex by the many organisations involved. We are determined to continue using our influence to make your concerns known and to press the case with the relevant organisations.

We will continue to apply pressure to The Pensions Regulator (tPR) and USS Trustee (USS) to be transparent about their decision-making with respect to the fund valuation and costs, and to act in the best interests of our community. We have written again to both tPR and USS this week. Having advocated early for the establishment of a Joint Expert Panel (JEP), we look forward to learning the outcomes of the JEP’s second report, expected before the end of term, and how USS will use these to inform the March 2020 valuation.

Our local pay negotiations with the Joint Trades Unions (JTU) were once again informed by your input to the Pay and Benefits Review. Last year we implemented a 3% annual pay settlement with an additional £3m investment in the research and education pay scale. This year we implemented the option preferred by two out of three of our unions for £1,080 across all salary scales plus an uplift for contractor workers. This equates to a 5.27% increase for those on our starting salary of £20,490 and pay rises above CPIH inflation for all staff earning up to £60,000. In both cases we have implemented your feedback to prioritise additional support for those on the lower end of our salary scale. UCU have advised us that they do not accept the local pay award and are balloting their members to see if they are prepared to take industrial action consisting of a strike and/or action short of a strike. The UCU pay claim is for an increase on all spine points of 5.44%.

Our conversations will continue through joint working groups with the JTU on the use of fixed term contracts, workload and the gender pay gap. Next year’s pay and benefit consultation will be informed by international pay and employment benchmarks for our academic staff. We will keep working with you on a total remuneration package that is equitable, fair and reflects the College’s standing as a world-leading university.

We will update you with any new developments from the national negotiations and JEP as we become aware of them. In the meantime, please visit our USS pension webpages for more detailed information and contact us with any specific questions or concerns.

Best wishes,

Alice and Ian 

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost