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Know Your Pension

In USS pension scheme? Want to know more about USS, how decisions that affect your pension are made and what you can do about it, come along on Thursday to ‘Know Your Pension’.

Information on the Key Issues in the USS Pensions Debate. All your pension questions answered in bit-sized chunks.

Meeting will be held online via Zoom at 6.30pm on Thursday 2 September. All staff welcome to attend. You don’t have to have to be a member of a union to be concerned about your pension.

Register at https://bit.ly/3jS1dZ1

Annual General Meeting 2021

This year’s AGM will be held online by Zoom meeting on Wednesday 26 May 2021 at 12:00. All of our local members should already have received an invite by email. If not, or if you require a reminder, please contact Juergen Munz at Juergen.Munz@hw.ac.uk.

BSL interpreting can be arranged through the on-campus interpreting service. Please contact Marion Fletcher at marion.fletcher@hw.ac.uk, giving as much notice as possible.


  1. Welcome
  2. Attendance and apologies
  3. Minutes of AGM 2020
  4. Report from the committee
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Appointment of auditor
  7. Local rule change
  8. Election of Officers and Representatives of the Committee
  9. USS dispute – update
  10. Pay dispute – update and branch position
  11. AOB

Join the UCU today, at https://www.ucu.org.uk/join

USS explained and why you cannot ignore your pension

The University and College Union (UCU) has exclusive employee representation rights for all members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

We would like to invite all of the USS members at Heriot-Watt University to an open online meeting about the future of the scheme.

Q. Why should I attend when I have already heard from Heriot-Watt University and can find information on the USS website?

A. Our USS pensions could be subject to substantial reductions in benefits. We believe that we cannot make an informed decision about the future of the USS pension scheme without hearing from the third key formal stakeholder in our pension scheme. You, the members.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 May at 3pm via Zoom. An email with the link to the meeting has been sent to all HWU staff in the UK. Please check your inbox for an email from the HWU All-staff mailing list at 10.05 on 06/05/2021, with subject line: [All-staff] USS explained – why you can’t ignore your pension. If you have not received this you can contact Juergen.Munz@hw.ac.uk at the local branch office for login details.

At the meeting we will be hearing from the following speakers:

  • Vicky Blake, UCU President
  • Christine Haswell, UCU National Pensions Official
  • Sarah Joss, HWUCU Vice President (acting)
  • Kenneth Weir, HWUCU Pensions Officer (acting)

If you require BSL interpreting, please contact Marion Fletcher at the on-campus BSL interpreting service. Marion can be contacted at marion.fletcher@hw.ac.uk. Please give as much notice as possible.

You can ask questions on the day or if you wish to ask questions in advance and/or anonymously please forward them to Joss at s.joss@hw.ac.uk before the meeting.

We very much look forward to seeing as many of our Heriot-Watt staff and USS members at the meeting as possible.

To find out more about the work of our local HWUCU branch please check out the rest of this website and our Twitter feed at @UCU_HWUBranch.

Further Information

Branch Members’ Meeting about the USS Pension Scheme

The next HWUCU Branch Members’ Meeting will be about the USS Pension Scheme and the current valuation. The meeting will be held online via Zoom on Wednesday 31 March from 12:00 to 13:00hrs and there will be a talk by Sam Marsh (UCU Pensions Negotiator).

We hope to see as many of you as possible. If you have not already received instructions on how to attend please contact the local branch office at ucu@hw.ac.uk.

If you are not already a member here are 5 Reasons to Join UCU. It only takes 10 minutes and subscriptions start from just £2 per month, so why not join today?

School Meetings/Branch Surgeries

Over the next few weeks we are hoping to have a series of brief meetings with members in each of the Schools/Professional Services to explore any concerns and issues. Meeting is open to all members who work in individual schools/services and also any staff members who may be interested in joining the union.

  • How is the ‘Best endeavours’ message being enacted on the ground in your school/professional service
  • Portfolio modernisation and protecting jobs within your school
  • Members concerns, including returning to work, finances, H&S etc.
  • Introducing Branch Surgeries (with James Igoe our casework officer)


Date Time School/Service
1st July 2020 12:30 – 13:00 EPS
1st July 2020 13:15 – 13:45 SoTD
7th July 2020 12:30 – 13:00 MACS
7th July 2020 13:15 – 13:45 SoSS
8th July 2020 12:30 – 13:00 EGIS
8th July 2020 13:15 – 13:45 Professional Services
14th July 2020 12:30 – 13:00 Casualised Members


Branch surgeries will also be held later in the month, for which members will be able to make appointments by emailing James Igoe.

Date Time Branch Surgeries
20th July 2020 12:30 – 13:00 Surgery 1
20th July 2020 13:15 – 13:45 Surgery 2
21st July 2020 12:30 – 13:00 Surgery 3
21st July 2020 13:15 – 13:45 Surgery 4

All members will shortly receive an invite to the their school/service meeting. If you are a non-member and interested in joining the meeting, please contact your school rep for an invitation link.

Local Members’ Meeting – December

Local Members’ Meeting on 11th December, 12.15 to 14.15
Mary Burton, G13

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this meeting. Please feel free to bring any colleague who may be interested.

HWUCU Branch Committee

Teach-Out Activities

Just because teaching staff are on strike, doesn’t mean education has to stop!

HW Student Union is opening its doors in solidarity to let us use their facilities. We will be hosting  a series of workshops and presentations on wide range of topics including a special screening of “Who is Europe”.

Local General Meeting on the Report of the Joint Expert Panel USS

The Branch Committee has arranged a General Meeting to discuss the recently published first report of the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) on USS. The speakers will be:

Dr Catherine Donnelly, FIA – Associate Professor HWU and member of the JEP.

Dr Carlo Morelli – Senior Lecturer Dundee University, member of NEC and UCU rep on the USS JNC.

Date: Thursday 27th September 2018

Venue: Chaplaincy

Time: 10.00-12.00

It would help us immensely with space management if you could signify your intent to attend, please email: G.S.Bruce@hw.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this meeting. Please feel free to bring any colleague who may be affected / interested.

HWUCU Branch Committee

Education Conference, 26 October 2017 – Hold the Date

UCU Scotland are hosting a conference on Thursday 26 October 2017 at the teaching and learning centre at the University of Strathclyde.  The full agenda is still being brought together but Professor John Holmwood from the Campaign for the Public University and the Scottish Commissioner for Fair Access, Professor Peter Scott, are confirmed and will be joined by other keynote speakers.  The conference will examine various issues including the purpose and funding of higher education in Scotland and academic freedom.  Further information on the conference and how to book will follow but if you’re interested in attending this conference please mark the date in your diary and e-mail mmathison@ucu.org.uk to ensure details on how to book are sent direct to you.

What Do Trade Unions Do?

The branch is running an information stall this week, Tuesday to Thursday from 12pm – 2pm, outside the student hub. We have also scheduled an informal meeting Why Join a Trade Union?, to explain what trade unions do and the benefits of UCU membership at Heriot Watt. We hope that this event will be of particular interest to postgraduate research students, post docs, early career starts and staff new to the UK, but all staff eligible to join UCU (grade 6 and above) are welcome. Please pop by the stall to say hello, and encourage any colleagues who are not members of a campus union to attend this special information event.

Why join a Trade Union?
Thursday 2nd March – 1.15pm @ Postgraduate Centre Room 102

  • James Richards (Branch President, UCU Heriot Watt) will give a background to Trade Unions in the UK and the work of the local branch at Heriot Watt.
  • Louise McGurk (Regional Support Official, UCU Scotland) will speak on the wider campaigning work of UCU in Scotland

There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions during the meeting, or afterwards on a one-to-one basis. Please feel free to pass this information on to RAs, postdocs and PGR students.

Thank you
HWUCU Branch Committee