Industrial strike action – how this could impact you

Following the University and College Union (UCU) announcement of industrial strike action beginning on 20 February 2020, we want to make sure you know how this may affect your pension contributions and benefits.

How long will the strike last?

The strike action is planned for 14 days between 20 February and 13 March 2020.

Will my contributions and benefits be affected if I’m not taking part in the strike?

No – if you’re not taking part in the strike your pension benefits will not be affected.

How may the strike actions affect my pension?

If you’re taking part in the strike, the impact to your pension contributions and benefits is mostly dependent on the choices you and your employer make.

  • You’ll continue to be covered for death in service and ill-health retirement. This doesn’t require contributions from you as a member or your employer. We’ll require written confirmation from your employer that you’re eligible should you become incapacitated or die during this period.
  • Pension accrues only where full contributions are maintained. So that you can continue to build up full pension benefits, you and your employer will need to maintain contributions during the industrial action. Whilst your employer may agree to maintain their contributions, there’s no requirement for them to do so. If you’re looking to build up full pension benefits during this time, please speak to your employer for more information.
  • If you, or your employer don’t maintain full contributions during industrial action, you will not build-up pension benefits for that period.

Will this affect Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to USS Investment Builder?

Please contact your employer for the impact the industrial strike action has on these contributions. Your employer may agree to maintain these contributions in the same way as full contributions.

What if I have career revalued benefits and/or added years (DBAVC) arrangements?

These can be maintained in the same way as full contributions during the strike action. However, if they’re not maintained in this time, your current arrangement will continue, but each day’s loss of additional contributions will be reflected in your final pension benefits.

If you need any further information or guidance on the industrial action, please speak to your employer.

Important note: This publication relates to industrial action taking place between 20 February and 13 March 2020. In the event of the industrial action being extended or if further action is proposed, Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd reserves the right to review and amend this guidance.

Published: 20/02/2020