Home > News and blog > Statement ahead of ACAS talks on pensions dispute

Statement ahead of ACAS talks on pensions dispute

2 March 2018

Ahead of further USS pension talks next week between employers and the University and College Union (UCU), Universities UK has called on the union to suspend strike action, as talks through ACAS begin.

A spokesperson for Universities UK said: "Constructive talks took place on Tuesday between employers' representatives and union leaders, with both sides showing a willingness to work together to address the scheme's financial challenges. With talks set to start next week with ACAS, we urge UCU to suspend the strike action while we try to seek common ground on an affordable and viable proposal. This would be in the best interests of students.

"The new proposal that UCU tabled at the informal meeting held on 27 February has not been formally costed by USS. Our initial assessment is that it is likely to require very substantial increases in both employer and member contributions, totally c8% of salaries, which is not affordable. Proposals will be explored in further detail during the talks facilitated by ACAS."


  1. Following a series of discussions lasting longer than one year, on 23 January 2018 the Joint Negotiating Committee – the formal and legally established forum for deciding changes to USS - supported a proposal by Universities UK, representing 350 higher education employers, to make the scheme sustainable. UUK also made the commitment to reintroduce defined benefits if the economic conditions improve.

  1. Informal talks took place on Tuesday 27 February between employers, represented by Universities UK (UUK), and employees by the University and College Union (UCU). The talks were constructive and both parties agreed to involve ACAS in facilitating further talks to bridge the significant distance between both sides. See media release.

Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


Pensions – the importance of getting it right

3 October 2017
UUK's Chief Executive, Alistair Jarvis, sets out his analysis of the way in which the Universities Superannuation Scheme needs to react to recent concerns.

Addressing the university pension fund deficit

2 August 2017
Following the news coverage on the USS pensions fund deficit, Professor Koen Lamberts discusses the challenges facing the scheme.


Universities UK planning more talks with UCU to end pensions dispute

14 March 2018
Following the University and College Union’s (UCU) rejection of the proposals jointly agreed at ACAS this week, Universities UK is planning more, urgent talks with UCU to end the dispute.

Agreement reached in USS pension talks

12 March 2018
An agreement has been reached between Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU) under the auspices of Acas following six days of talks.