Skip to main content

To: Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield

Sir Keith: speak out against the USS proposals

We have always admired your willingness to use your prominence as Vice-Chancellor of our university to speak out for social causes within the UK and abroad. Now the cause is one that, left unchecked, could strike at the very heart of the University. Please speak out against the disastrous proposals by Universities UK to end defined benefits in the USS pension scheme.

Why is this important?

This is a pivotal moment for pre-92 universities. Do they allow a healthy and well-established pension scheme to wind-up, while post-92 universities provide a much more attractive offer? Have they properly weighed up the risks posed to their recruitment and retention by doing so? Are they prepared to see staff morale take a further knock after years of pay erosion? Are they happy being responsible for over £10bn being sucked out of the economy over the next twenty years in the name of risk-management?

We are pleased to see that Stuart Croft and Warwick are leading the way in speaking out against these proposals. We urge you, as our Vice-Chancellor, to follow Professor Croft’s lead and speak out publicly in defence of our defined benefit scheme. We encourage you to use your influence to put pressure on UUK to seek a solution that is fair to staff and ensures we remain an attractive place to work.
The University of Sheffield, Sheffield

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL



2017-12-15 15:22:37 +0000

Sir Keith writes to staff on USS!

In his most recent message to staff, Sir Keith has included some paragraphs on USS, picking up themes similar to those raised by Stuart Croft. He writes

“Unlike the former polytechnic universities where the majority of staff are members of a government-backed pension scheme which offers defined benefits, research intensive universities - so crucial to the UK's global competitive position and future prosperity - are facing significantly higher commitments on staff pensions.

In the regulated market in which we now find ourselves, this effectively represents government support of pension benefits to one part of higher education and its staff not available to others. This is not only unfair, it is a bias which weighs heavily against those institutions and their students being asked to make investments which are then unavailable for teaching and research.”

2017-12-14 17:05:46 +0000

After weeks of waiting, Universities UK has released its modelling of the effect of their proposals on benefit changes. Disappointingly, they have chosen to spin the figures, using higher forecasts than those used to value the defined benefit scheme, plus a host of other tricks (see below).

UUK can’t transform a sow’s ear into a silk purse, Mike Otsuka:

2017-12-13 15:48:32 +0000

Sir Keith replies to Sheffield UCU Letter

Sheffield UCU wrote to Sir Keith on 29 November asking him to make a public statement. We have now received a reply which you can read below.

There is no commitment to any public statement. Instead he writes "I will respect the agreed structures in place to determine what USS will look like in the future and await news from those negotiations".

Please keep encouraging people to sign the petition. We believe that Sir Keith needs to speak out on matters as important as the security of retirement for this university's staff.

2017-12-12 18:39:21 +0000

100 signatures reached

2017-12-11 14:10:27 +0000

50 signatures reached

2017-12-11 11:59:25 +0000

25 signatures reached

2017-12-11 10:59:52 +0000

10 signatures reached