As strike action by members of the UCU prepares to enter a 4th week, the SLSA Exec would like to express its grave concern regarding the ways in which the proposed changes to the USS pension scheme will adversely affect many of our members, particularly those in pre-1992 Universities. We call on UUK to rethink its current position. Further information about the action is available on the UCU website, and the proposed pension changes on the USS website.

There are significant socio-legal issues underpinning the dispute, around how pensions are regulated and valued, and the effects that such regulation has on the management of pension schemes. Related issues include the marketisation and casualisation of higher education, and the equality and diversity implications of pension changes, which can have a particularly significant impact on early career scholars, women and minorities. We would very much welcome contributions to the SLSA blog that engage with these issues.

As a learned society, the SLSA relies on the goodwill of our members to serve on the Executive Committee, to help us to work to advance education and learning, research, teaching and the dissemination of knowledge in the field of socio-legal studies. We hope that the current and ongoing ACAS negotiation will result in an early and appropriate settlement which protects our members’ pension benefits and minimises disruption to all those affected by this action.

In the meantime, we would encourage our members who are not affected by this issue, or who are unable to lawfully strike because of trade union law to donate to the USS Fighting Fund to support those experiencing hardship as a result of the dispute.