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Heriot-Watt University must call for changes at USS to resolve the pension dispute

We believe that staff working at Heriot-Watt University deserve a fair pension in retirement, paid for at a reasonable cost during their working lives. The current situation with escalating costs of contributions based on disputed valuation technique is harmful to staff, HWU the employer, and to all who value Heriot-Watt University.

Your branch has launched a petition asking the University leadership to publicly call for the resignation of Bill Galvin and Sir David Eastwood.

Full petition can be accessed here

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”.

Students, Support the Strikes!

Having voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, university staff across the UK will go on strike to defend their pay and pensions from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December. Colleagues at HWU will also be on strike during this period. We have issued more information to our students that offers a brief explanation of what these strikes are about, what they mean for students, and what you can do to show your support.

Read more information on our Student flyer.

We are delighted that our Student Parliament has voted to support the Industrial Action, see statement by HWUnion

The National Union of Students supports the strikes, see this joint statement.

USS and HE autumn ballots 2019

Members in branches where UCU has registered a dispute over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) will receive two ballot papers.

  • One for pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workload and pay deflation.
  • One for USS
  • A ballot insert for each dispute.
  • All ballot papers should be returned in the single prepaid envelope provided.

If you have not received your ballot papers, please request a replacement via: https://www.ucu.org.uk/ballotrequest

General Meeting – 28th November

Local Members’ Meeting on 28th November, 12.00 to 14.00
Post Graduate Centre 304

Murdo Matheson, Policy & Communications Officer for UCU Scotland, will speak on Trade Union representation and the new Governance statues.

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

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

HWUCU Hardship Fund

In support of industrial action, the Officers of HWUCU have the discretion to agree that compensatory payments can be made from a local Hardship Fund to those members who have had pay deducted as a result of the member’s participation in industrial action.

As the UCU national Fighting Fund does not provide cover for all days of a dispute, a local Hardship Fund has been established to provide support for this period. As per the national Fighting Fund, the maximum daily claim limit is capped at £50.

The union endeavors to give priority of payment to members most in need (e.g. lower paid or casual staff, members on insecure contracts etc.)

HWUCU Hardship Fund guidance notes

HWUCU Hardship Fund application form

If  you would like to make a donation, or share with those who can, the details are:
The Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: UCU – Heriot-Watt University LA 023 Hardship Fund
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Account No. 20391168

Vote now to save USS – Ballot closes Friday 19 January.

UCU is currently balloting its members for industrial action over changes proposed by UUK to slash USS members’ retirement income. The ballot closes on Friday 19 January and the union is urging any members who have not yet voted to cast their vote immediately.

Further information can be found at https://www.ucu.org.uk/uss

https://www.facebook.com/ucu.campaigns/videos/1975844146017001/

Overhaul of university pensions could leave staff £200,00 worse off in retirement

The following article is taken from the UCU website.

Staff in some of the UK’s most elite universities will see the value of their retirement income drop by as much as £200,000 if hardline proposals from universities are brought in. Analysis by independent experts First Actuarial shows that a lecturer starting work today could be £208,000 worse off over the course of their retirement under the new proposals for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The modeling also reveals that the lecturer would be £385,000 worse off than if they worked in their nearest new ‘post-92′ university where academics’ pensions are paid by the rival Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) rather than USS.

The report also looks in detail at the impact on staff in USS and finds that a lecturer who started in 2007 and has 10 years’ past service could see their annual pension fall by just over £6,000 a year in retirement, or £131,000 in total. The total loss in retirement for current USS members reduces with the more past service they have. Someone with 20 years’ past service could lose £35,000 in total.

The revelations about how much staff can expect to lose come UCU members start to receive ballot papers asking them to back a sustained campaign of strikes and other forms of industrial action. The union has warned of “chaos on campuses” in the new year if the dispute cannot be resolved. The postal ballot opened on Wednesday and will close on Friday 19 January.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘This analysis reveals just how damaging UUK’s hardline plans for the pension scheme would be on an individual basis for people who have planned and saved for their retirement.

‘Already offering worse benefits than other schemes available in the sector, these proposals would devastate USS members’ pensions and could create a recruitment and retention crisis as staff jump ship to secure their futures.

‘I would urge all members to take a look at what these proposals would mean for them and then make sure they vote in the ballot for industrial action.’

Table 1: Comparison of current pension income against UUK’s plans and current Teachers’ Pension Scheme

Staff profile Current deal UUK proposals Loss total Annual loss TPS
Starts on £39,992 and moves up pay spine to £47,722 £434,000 £305,000 £129,000 £6,000 £580,000
Starts on £39,992 and moves up pay spine to £58,655 £503,000 £346,000 £157,000 £7,300 £662,000
Starts on £39,992 and moves up pay spine to £110,217 £614,000 £406,000 £208,000 £9,600 £791,000

Assumes all work 30 years paying into USS. Retirement of 27 years. TPS members pay slightly higher contributions.

 

Table 2: Impact of UUK’s plans for different staff already in USS

Staff member Current deal UUK proposals Loss total Loss annual
To retire in 2047 aged 68. Started on spine 31 (now at £33,518) in 2007 (10 years’ past service). £562,000 £431,000 £131,000 £6,100
To retire in 2037 aged 67. Started on spine 31 (now at £33,518) in 2002 (15 years’ past service). £427,000 £339,000 £88,000 £4,100
To retire in 2027 aged 66. Started on spine 31 (now at £33,518) in 1997 (20 years’ past service). £426,000 £391,000 £35,000 £1,600