"Today's talks were constructive and will continue over the coming days. We restated again that we are willing to meet with UCU at any time or place to resolve this dispute. It is clear to us that the proposal put forward by UCU last week hasn't been properly costed with USS. Rather than a 4.1% increase in contributions, it would need an additional c8% of salaries, which is unaffordable. If forced into this level of increases most institutions would have to make redundancies and there would be a detrimental impact on teaching and research.
"Employers are committed to exploring affordable and viable options to resolve this dispute. UCU should call off the strikes to focus all their efforts on joining us for meaningful discussions over the future of USS."
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.
Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK's universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 136 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities Scotland), it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally.