Questions for advocates of No Detriment

According to the No Detriment view that UCU Left — and some branches such as UCL-UCU — advocate, the union should reject any settlement to preserve the DB status quo which involves a rise in member contributions. This includes the proposed solution modelled by the Joint Expert Panel.

Some questions for supporters of No Detriment:

If UUK accepted JEP’s modelled solution — which funds the status quo of 1/75 DB on salaries up to £57k, out of a 2.1% rise in employer and a 1.1% rise in member contributions — would you seriously push for its rejection and a strike ballot for a No Detriment shift of the entire 3.2% rise on employers for the next three years?

Do you think union members would vote to authorise a strike for a No Detriment elimination of their 1.1% rise for three years rather than accepting the JEP-modelled solution?

If you insist on No Detriment, with employers absorbing the full 3.2% to retain the DB status quo of 1/75 up to £57k, employers could hold out for either a watering down of accrual to c. 1/80 or a lowering of the DB/DC salary threshold to c. £45k, in order to keep the overall increase in contributions down to the March-ACAS-agreed +2% (19.3% employer, 8.7% member).

As Tom Pike has noted, JNC, with its chair’s casting vote, has been more favourable to UUK than JEP is.

Would it really be sensible to hold out for No Detriment against a 1/80 or £45k UUK offer authorised by JNC chair’s casting vote and let such an offer go to a strike ballot, rather than settling on the JEP-modelled 1/75 status quo at 20.1% and 9.1%?

It’s one thing to win a strike ballot and go out on sustained strikes, when the alternative is accepting an employer offer of 100% DC.

It’s another thing when the alternative is accepting an employer offer of a relatively modest 1/80 or £45k adjustment to the DB status quo, at 19.3% and 8.7%, that is better than the best offer that UCU tabled in 2017–18, where such an offer also appears to meet (to quote from the UCU and UUK agreed terms of reference for JEP) “the clear wish of staff to have a guaranteed pension comparable with current provision whilst meeting the affordability challenges for all parties”.

[See my reply here to a response on Twitter by UCL-UCU to this post. See also this previous post: “Why pushing for No Detriment is now self-defeating”.]

Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method, LSE

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