Endorsement from Professor Emeritus Dennis Leech, University of Warwick
I am Dennis Leech, an emeritus professor of economics at Warwick. I have been a branch activist, caseworker, branch president and currently pensions officer. I am a UCU-elected member of the USS Advisory Committee and the UCU Superannuation Working Group. As such I am working to defend guaranteed pensions (defined benefits), that I believe are perfectly sustainable whatever we are told to the contrary by those with vested interests otherwise, in both the USS and TPS.
Jo Grady’s manifesto is the refreshing change that UCU urgently needs. The union has become stale and often unresponsive to issues urgently faced by grassroots members. As branch president I often felt isolated and in need of stronger union support when faced with a high-handed management that was imposing redundancies, at times apparently arbitrary disciplinary action and a grotesque research performance management regime in its ruthless pursuit of REF rankings. Jo’s proposals will seriously address this and strengthen the union for members.
The USS dispute is not over. Although the UCU won a victory through the strike, getting the proposal to end defined benefits withdrawn, the scheme is not yet secure. Far from it. There needs to be change to the way USS is run, its governance and valuation methodology, to ensure it remains open for future members. There is also a pressing need for USS to invest in green industries and divest from fossil fuels for the long term. Jo’s proposals as set out in her manifesto are what is needed.