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Academic pensions: negotiations concluded with no consensus

20 February 2018

Discussions between Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) on proposed reforms to the Universities Superannuation Scheme have concluded without an agreement being reached.

The employers’ proposals as tabled by Universities UK, were passed by the USS Negotiating Committee, following the intervention of the independent Chair who used their casting vote to support these.  

This means that the USS will now proceed on the basis of implementing the employers' proposal, which will see the guaranteed defined benefit pension closed from 1 April 2019 (at the earliest), to be replaced by a defined contribution scheme.  

This change and an example of the impacts are outlined in our previous briefing.  

One change appears to have been made to the final proposal: in order to qualify for the maximum employer contribution of 13.25%, a worker needs to pay in 4%, rather than 8% (although they still can pay 8% if they wish).  

Previous correspondence has assumed that to achieve the maximum employer contribution, a member contribution of 8% is needed.  

As such the cost of USS to members will be less, although this will likely result in lower pension benefits.

Even though detailed negotiations have been held (albeit resulting in an unsatisfactory outcome) each employer will have to consult with its workforce for a minimum of 60 days, and BDA will support members through that process.  

The consultation is expected to be launched in March 2018. We will keep members up to date on developments.

What can you do? Tell us which pension scheme you are in

To represent our members, we need information about which pension scheme you are in and your views on the proposals. We need to hear as many members views as possible, to make a stronger case for dentistry, please get in touch (in confidence) with Phil McEvoy, email or tel 0207 563 4161.

Can I go on strike?

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) which represents the majority of staff in the Higher Education sector, and who were the other party to the USS Negotiating Committee, has announced 14 days of strike action, in response to the proposed changes.  

BDA members are not permitted to take part in the strike action, unless you are also a UCU member – contact your UCU rep if that is the case for further advice and information.

We will continue to speak to UCU and other unions, and lobby for the best deal for our members. 

More information

More information is available through the UUK and USS websites.

Working for you

We will continue to campaign for better terms and conditions for our members. If you'd like to be kept up to date with our progress:


Through our policy and campaigning work, we ensure that the concerns of all sections of the profession are raised and that dentists' voices are heard at a national level: join us.