I know it looks like the dullest meeting of all time (Allison was in fact chairing in her sleep), but thanks to all those who attended the packed SAUL briefing on Thursday - hope it was informative rather than confusing.
I wanted to quickly put up a brief summary of what was said, what the next stage is and who people should contact for more information.
First of all though, full details of the proposed changes, and the consultation process, can be found here. Any technical questions should be addressed to Leroy Clarke or Tara Kopp.
Bill Causon, from the Unison SAUL negotiating team, spoke first, and stressed that Unison and Unite, who represent the employees, had secured a number of concessions as regards the original proposals, and had succeeded in ensuring that most of the major changes to the scheme would affect new entrants rather than current members.
Sandy Nicoll, member of the UNISON Service Group Executive for Higher Education, noted that the switch from RPI to CPI for uprating pensions had already been introduced, and would already negatively impact their value. He also pointed to the employers' contribution holiday of the mid-1990s as a potential cause of the current situation, and also cautioned against measuring the financial viability of pension schemes taken against a snapshot of their value on the stock exchange in the middle of a recession. He argued that the current proposals for the CARE scheme for new entrants were the worst on offer in the public sector.
Leroy Clarke, the University Pensions Manager, stressed that SAUL was still a good scheme, and urged people not to withdraw.
Ruth Levin, UNISON Regional Organiser, praised the negotiating committee and said that many points had been defended.
All urged members to contribute to the consultation, which is running to the 22 March 2012 - either through the University link above, or via the UNISON branch (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com).
After this suggestions will be considered, and a 'final' offer will be made.
This offer will come back to members of UNISON and UNITE, who will be asked whether to accept or to take action. While all SAUL members can take part in the consultation, only union members will be balloted.
If you are not a member of UNISON and wish to find more information see here for details of your local steward, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.