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2019 Updates (USS, Malaysia, Pay Ballot)

A new term begins, and we have so much news for you!
First of all, there has been a lot of movement, particularly in the last week, related to USS.  You will remember that the JEP made recommendations to USS which were supported by UUK. However, USS has announced that they are not fully accepting those recommendations: we are, at least, still safely back in having our defined contributions pensions, but where the JEP recommended that no increases of contributions would be necessary, USS has said they do want to increase.  It’s a small amount in comparison with what they had originally said – but it’s more than we (or the employers) are paying at the moment.  There’s a lot of analysis out there to look at, if you would like to see more details: as before, please look at what USS Briefs are saying ( and Mike Otsuka ( – particularly ).  UCU is now asking us all to contact the acting VC to urge him to call for the full implementation of JEP, to respond positively with a view to securing the lowest contributions possible to discussions around contingency, and to support further work by JEP to make proposals for a methodology for future valuations which would potentially have the support of all sides.  Please do email or write to Professor van de Noort: or if you happen to see him in a meeting, take the opportunity to mention this.
Secondly, with the publication of the University’s accounts towards the end of last term, there has been an interest from journalists in the sector, particularly in the light of the announcement by several universities, not just ours, about either voluntary or compulsory redundancies.  Reading had the honour of leaping immediately to the eye, given the comments in the accounts about the huge amount of money being lost in Malaysia.  The Times Higher Education magazine last week published a full page article on Reading and Malaysia which was scathing about the way in which “Universities tend to overestimate enrolments and underestimate the difficulty in navigating the local environment”.  You can read the article at
Next, we’ll be starting a bit of a push soon to get the vote out for the pay and equality ballot.  This opens on 15 January, so you will be finding your voting papers arrive soon.  Please check that your details are correct on the MyUCU web pages, or you are welcome to contact Colette to check this too.  Papers will be sent out to the address given for any formal documentation, and will only be sent to those who are eligible to vote, so if your membership is of a level which doesn’t entitle you to vote, you won’t receive papers. Can you help?  We’ll be looking for people who can simply check with their colleagues that a) anticipated voting papers have arrived and b) that the colleague hasn’t forgotten about them and left them on a desk without voting.  We’ve got a Get The Vote Out meeting scheduled for Thursday 17 January from 1.00 to 2.00 in Chancellors G08 to which we will be inviting reps and previous GTVO volunteers: please come too if you would like to join that group.  As ever, we urge you to vote: we want to know for certain what you think. 
Lastly, a few updates from us on the Committee.  We’re still finding that we’re getting a huge amount of casework which is taking up a good deal of time: if you might be inclined to dip a toe in the water to help with this, we (and all the members) would be unendingly grateful.  We’re also working very hard on our own claim against the university, which is currently involving a lot of analysis of data and fortnightly meetings with senior management.  And we’re working on the background to the University’s announcements about voluntary redundancy, and analysing figures, looking at published statements for clues about direction, and doing our utmost to try to prevent them from even thinking of moving onto compulsory redundancy. There are only ten of us, and we all have heavy work commitments too – so if you think you can spare any time at all to help, please shout!

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