Sustainable pensions, passionate debate 2

October 14, 2010

It is hard not to chuckle when reading that employers prefer a "narrative" consultation to one where votes for and against pension changes are actually counted ("Pensions powwow set to begin as union offers alternative narrative", 7 October). They know there is little support for their plans to reform the USS.

The criticism by unnamed employers of the UCU's referendum sounds like doublespeak, given employers' refusal of the UCU's offer to work together to ballot all those affected.

Our system will ensure that votes are counted only once and that each vote is matched to an eligible staff member. So far, while local employers press on half-heartedly with a consultation - or "narrative" - that everyone recognises as flawed, nearly 20,000 USS members have already registered for the UCU referendum.

I'd like to take this opportunity to invite representatives of the employers and Times Higher Education to attend the count of our referendum in December, so that the unnamed sources can satisfy themselves that it represents the legitimate views of thousands of fund members before we submit it to the USS board. The UCU will count the votes and honour the result, rather than seek to spin it away with public-relations gobbledegook.

Sally Hunt, General secretary, UCU.

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