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."
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.
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.