I’m not writing as a pensions expert or actuary (I’m neither). I’m writing as a parent of a 22 year old completing the Cambridge Geography Tripos. He , and his contemporaries are facing considerable disruption to the teaching they’ve paid for.
I don”t know any students who aren’t supporting their teacher’s right to a decent pension at a fair price and I don’t see bleating about VFM for the student loan they are extending. Students have been tolerant of the poor deal they have got and I’m proud of my son for his tolerance.
But there comes a time when someone has to stand up and say enough is enough and that should not be the students but people like me – so here goes.
The hard line of the UCU’s Left is now the dominant force of the University College Union’s policy making. This doesn’t give moderates much room for manoeuvre. UCU left’s positions appear to include demanding the USS executive resigns or is sacked. This is not how to resolve the dispute. Nor is its vilification of the JEP for not demanding Bill Galvin’s head upon a platter. I am far from happy about the influence of militant left-wingers on the UCU
But the JEP, ably led by Joanne Segars, has produced a strongly worded report that should be giving the UCU confidence. The UCU has in Jo O’Grady a powerful leader. The cards are stacking up in their favour, why risk further unnecessary action by adopting such a confrontational approach. The answer appears to be a return to 1967.
With #UCU members in the midst of action here’s an important lesson – hard hitting strikes get results! #UCUStrikesBack #UCUStrikes https://t.co/fKhvjHFltM
— Margot hill (@margot4UCUVP) January 11, 2020
And time is the UCU’s friend, USS are still suffeciently invested in real assets for it to have benefited from the recent market upswing. Future valuations may look a lot more rosey, especially if the current Government adopts an inflationary economic strategy that drives down USS liabilities.
But surely the clinching argument for some peace and quiet is the progress that has already been made by the UCU in winning the intellectual argument. As an open scheme there is no rationale for the proposed de-risking strategy that has caused so much strife.
I can, as a former First Actuarial employee, point to the absolute good sense of exploiting the sweet spot that USS is and will remain in.
USS should remain invested in real assets, teachers should remain teaching and the long-suffering students should be allowed to complete this year without further disruption.