The assets of the scheme have increased to over £88bn.
The University and College Union (UCU) has launched a fresh plea to universities to pressure their employer body Universities UK (UUK) to revoke its pension cuts after a new report showed UUK's finances going through a significant boost. Under the pension reforms, against which UCU members have striked throughout the academic year, lecturers will lose an average of 35% of their pension.
Pension cuts were justified by UUK due to a deficit in the scheme when it was last valued in March 2020. The new report shows that assets have grown from £66.5bn in March 2022 to £88.8bn in February 2022, although it does note that they have fallen during 2022. It also shows the technical provisions deficit of the scheme as having fallen from £14.1bn in 2020 to £2.0bn in 2022.
The trustee which manages the scheme and commissioned the report says the level of contributions needed to balance the deficit is now 0%. The University of Glasgow is currently paying £18,396,957 per year to service this deficit, according to a UCU Glasgow representative.
PhD student at the University of Glasgow and UCU Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) representative, Rosie Hampton, told The Glasgow Guardian: "UofG are now set to pay nearly £20 million a year to service a deficit that USS themselves have confirmed no longer exists. They could very easily prevent any further industrial action by pressuring USS to reverse these cuts, which UCU have consistently maintained have never been necessary - and have now been proven right."
Rosie continued: "Additionally, it’s an extortionate amount of money in the face of our other dispute, the Four Fights. Staff face insecure employment, low pay, sometimes not knowing when they’ll next be paid, while universities are about to waste millions. None of this is necessary and UCUG will continue to fight until the employers and USS realise that."
In a statement the UCU General Secretary, Jo Grady, said: "The strong performance of the pension scheme has seen its assets reach unprecedented levels with growth now outstripping liabilities.
"Vice-chancellors must now seize the moment, revoke these cuts and end the industrial strife which has so far seen universities hit by up to 18 days of strike action. A failure to do so will put rocket boosters onto our campaign to get the vote during the final week of industrial ballots."
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