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Both parties have agreed to withdraw the unpopular January decision and to await the outcome of the Joint Expert Panel.

In a meeting of the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) on Friday 27 April, representatives of Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU) agreed to withdraw their earlier proposal, dated January 23, to make the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) a purely defined-contribution scheme in future.

Neither party proposed an alternative programme of benefit reform, as both are committed to awaiting the outcome of a Joint Expert Panel (JEP), which has been set up with equal numbers of members from both sides and is expected to report in September.

The Trustee of USS has said that it intends to engage constructively with the JEP.

However, the Trustee is also obliged by law to complete the 2017 valuation as soon as possible, which means that it needs to demonstrate to the Pensions Regulator that the scheme is sufficiently funded and that, if a shortfall is predicted, there is a credible plan to recover it.

The Trustee therefore plans to continue with its own work to complete the valuation. This work may proceed in parallel with the discussions of the JEP. If, after the JEP has reported, the JNC calls for a different set of benefit and contribution arrangements to those envisaged by the Trustee, the Trustee has said that it will consider introducing the JNC’s proposal as soon as practically possible.

Read the full story on the USS website

The University is committed to communicating with all staff who are members of USS about the progress of the 2017 valuation. An open meeting is being organised to give members of USS a chance to learn more about the latest developments in the national situation, including the Joint Expert Panel, and to look ahead to potential short-term and long-term solutions to the ongoing valuation dispute. Details of this open meeting will be circulated later this week.