University of Bath UCU Rotating Header Image

March, 2015:

Another win for hourly paid workers at Bath

The trade unions have been informed that one part of our demand for hourly paid workers to be treated the same as permanent staff has been agreed. From next week hourly paid workers will be paid a minimum of £7.85 an hour. Hundreds of campus workers, many of them students, will benefit from this, which was welcomed in the SU newspaper Bath Impact. (more…)

USS consultation – guidance on responding

Our employer has to consult us about proposed changes to the USS pension scheme, and they will do that over a 60-day period starting on Monday 16th March.  UCU has produced guidance on responding to the consultation questions.

Bath UCU branch committee endorses this guidance.  We reject the claim that there is a huge deficit which requires increases in contributions and cuts in benefits.  For a fuller explanation of this, see the helpful note provided by Prof Simon Wood.

If you are not a UCU member please note that UCU has won substantial improvements in this scheme: in particular raising the salary cap from 40K unindexed to 55K indexed. Please consider joining UCU to protect your pension and your pay.

Consultation closes on 22 May.

Further information

A letter from a group of leading authorities on statistics, financial mathematics and actuarial science to Sir Martin Harris, the chairman of the USS trustee board, criticising the assumptions on which the valuation is made

Imperial College London’s official response to USS’s proposals, arguing that USS’s figures ‘are as likely to be modelling artefacts as a reflection of the underlying economic reality’

Warwick University’s critique of the ‘over-pessimistic assumptions and inappropriate methodology’ in the calculation of the USS deficit. Summary available

UCU’s response (compiled by First Actuarial) to the USS Trustee Consultation, providing a detailed critique of the valuation method.

Note in particular:

  • the cashflow projections for the next 70 years show USS’s healthy financial position (p.26)
  • the inconsistency in the assumptions (section 5)
  • the discussion of long-term rates of return from equities and gilts (section 7)
  • the distorting effect of the choice of discount rate based on gilt rates (appendix B).

Recent article in ‘The Actuary’ by a former vice-chair of the Bank of England, critical of the thinking behind derisking:

Note in particular the section on ‘misreading of risk’, which is especially relevant to USS.





Pressure growing for University to pay Living Wage

Living WageTwo well supported lobbies of University Council and University Court have put pressure on the University managers to pay the Living Wage to all staff.  Two years ago, the Vice Chancellor of Bath University – in a year when she received a record 25% pay increase – told UNISON she would not pay the Living Wage to hundreds of low paid workers at the University. Following pressure from all three unions, including UCU, the Vice Chancellor decided to pay a discretionary ‘pay supplement’ – in reality a tip – to 200 permanent and fixed term staff whose pay was less than the level of the Living Wage. This left another 1000 + hourly paid workers – bar and café staff, cleaners and many other kinds of job earning less than the Living Wage. This week’s protests were bigger, noisier and better supported than ever before.  They were so noisy that the VC had to sneak Chancellor Prince Edward into the meeting by the back door.   If we all keep this up it is only a matter of time before we win the Living Wage for everybody who works at the University of Bath.