Monthly Archives: September 2017

Your Pensions Under Attack. Stand with UCU. Vote YES to defend our benefits.


Bristol UCU met on Monday with the university’s Chief Financial Officer, Robert Kerse, to discuss our pensions. Employers are responding this week to a consultation from USS following the recent valuation of the scheme.

USS’s trustees say that a further 6.6% increase in contributions is required in order to maintain existing pension benefits at their current level. UCU’s national position is clear: we do not think that there is a need for increased contribution or a reduction in benefits.

Bristol UCU noted the fundamental soundness of the scheme, given its strong cash flows and significant investments. We continue to challenge the methodological assumptions underpinning the declared deficit. We stressed the importance of pensions to members as hard-earned deferred pay, and made clear our determination to defend a viable pension scheme, that was jointly created by employers and employees through our union. Bristol UCU also reiterated its opposition to any drive towards transforming USS to a wholly Defined Contribution scheme.

We formally requested that the university’s response to the current employer consultation be shared with all USS members at Bristol.

There is no doubt that our pensions are under threat. You can read more about the problems with USS’s approach to valuation here:

Click to access firstactuarial_progressing-valuation-uss_sep17.pdf

Colleagues from Leeds have also produced an excellent summary ‘USS pensions – is there really a big hole in the finances?’:

Please note: Pauline Collins, who chairs the UCU Superannuation Working Group, and is at the centre of the negotiations, will be coming on October 12 to speak to Bristol UCU members. We will be in touch with further details.

This is a critical moment and UCU’s elected negotiators now need your help as they fight to defend your pension. Please do take your opportunity to vote in the consultative e-ballot on willingness to take industrial action to defend pensions.

Very Sad News – Celia Hollingworth

A short statement to Bristol UCU members:

Dear Members,

Many of you will have read the awful news of the death of Celia Hollingworth. Celia worked for many years in IT at Bristol, and was a longstanding UCU representative. Lots of members have already been in contact with branch officers to express their sense of loss, and to share memories of Celia’s huge contribution to the life of our branch.

Celia was a tireless advocate for Bristol UCU, an extraordinarily hard-working case worker who supported many members in difficulty, and, more generally, a stalwart of our branch. Her energy, determination, and willingness to put others above herself, was an inspiration to many of us.

Branch officers will be liaising with Celia’s colleagues in IT as to how best to commemorate her great service and to celebrate her life.
Once we have further details, we will pass them on.

Our thoughts are with her family, and her workmates.

Best wishes,

Tracey, James, Jamie, Stephen and Suzy