Candid Cantor

March 31, 2011

We should be grateful to Brian Cantor, chair of the Employers Pensions Forum, for coming clean about two things that we always suspected but our employers had previously denied ("In this climate, USS plans are generous", Letters, 17 March).

First, he admits "the need to bring final-salary provision to an end" - that is for all staff, not just new starters as the present pension reform proposals state. In other words, if we concede on the existing plans, the employers will be back for more.

Second, he admits that the proposed changes are not about shoring up the Universities Superannuation Scheme, because, as the current triennial revaluation will shortly confirm, the USS is remarkably healthy. Rather, they are about dealing with "the deteriorating financial environment that universities now face". The employers intend to rob their staff's contracted deferred pay to reduce university operating deficits.

Daniel Vulliamy, Senior lecturer in industrial relations, Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Hull

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