The Executive Committee University of Sheffield Branch of UNISON voted unanimously to continue opposition to the university’s cash balance pension scheme and ask that the option of moving the pensions of workers from grades 1-5 into the Superannuation Arrangement of the University of London (SAUL) be looked at again.
A joint meeting was on Friday the 27th January where local officers of both unions and UNISON regional organiser Steve Torrance spoke to members regarding the pension situation. They stated that there had been no new improvement in the University’s position and that there was no longer any chance of getting old USPS benefit structure back. Members at the meeting agreed with the UNISON Executive Committee that the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme (USPS) was unacceptable in its new form.
UNISON therefore ask that the University of Sheffield take a hard look at SAUL and give staff in grades 1-5 the respect they deserve.
What is SAUL?
SAUL started as the University of London Pension Scheme but now has over 50 universities as members. SAUL is a final salary scheme with benefits broadly similar to the ones offered by USPS before the university decimated it. SAUL would accept University of Sheffield staff into it. You can learn more on the SAUL website www.saul.org.uk/
What Can You Do?
Forcing the university’s top management to think again about SAUL is going to require a maximum effort from all un-ion members. Here are some of the ways you can help.
Turn Up and Make Your Voice Heard
UNISON and the other campus unions have called a lobby of the next university council meeting on Monday the 20th of February. Come along any time between 4:30 and 5:30 for a long as you can. If you are not at work try and come back in, think about bringing your family along with you because an attack on your pension will certainly affect them too. If you have the chance to take a break or use flex time please use it to come to the lobby for a few minutes.
Write a Letter
We need to make our voices heard both in the press and at the university. Write a letter respectfully outlining how the slashing of USPS makes you feel and suggest that we ought to be SAUL members. Below is a list of contact details to get you started:
Times Higher Education:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheffield Telegraph: email@example.com
Our branch is on facebook www.facebook.com/UNISONUniversityofSheffield and Twitter @sheffuniunison and a facebook campaign page:-
Please go and sign up to them. It might not be your thing, you might not usually use social networks but more and more the success of a campaign is measured by the size of its presence on the internet. It is important in the mind of journalists (who can be a good tool for posting links to articles and communication about events and activities) and is something we need to be doing.
Talk to Your Fellow Workers
The managers on the University Executive Board who are responsible for the loathsome attack on low paid workers that USPS represents will not change their minds and move into SAUL because it is the right thing to do or because it is a good idea, they will only do it if we put on and keep up the pressure. Luckily for us SAUL is both the right thing to do and a good idea. We need to spread the word, talk to the people you work with about how poor USPS is. Talk about how you think if we stand together and do not go quiet we can make a change. Remember the banners around the concourse during graduation? YOU CAN CHANGE ANYTHING. Ask people to join UNISON, with a management happy to be coming first in a race to the bottom, you have to ask yourself if they are willing to make this attack on your pension, what is next? It is more important now than in any other time in the history of the university that your trade union is strong and that means more members.