The UTS branch, like other NTEU branches, hosted a forum on 29 May to discuss the financial health of UniSuper and its implications for university staff, after widespread concern amongst NTEU members and university staff. The NTEU fully appreciates the anxiety which this has caused, as superannuation is a crucial part of most employees’ financial security.
Widespread concern was generated by media reports following the UniSuper board issuing an early warning in late 2011 when measures of its actuarial health fell below 100%, largely as a result of the downturn in global investment markets, which has affected all superannuation schemes. This led to further concern because under the trust deed the UniSuper Board can take action to reduce benefits. Prior to 2006, the Board could ask the employers to meet the shortfall with unanimous consent, but now the only option under the trust deed is to reduce benefits.
The fund’s finances should recover, but in order to address the underlying concerns of University staff and members about the future of their superannuation, a working party of universities, the NTEU and UniSuper has been initiated by Grahame McCulloch, National Secretary.
The NTEU will take all measures it can to ensure the protection of current and future superannuation entitlements. The Union is in a good position to face these challenges, as it has bargaining and legal options, and its collective agreements underwrite UniSuper as the sole provider.
The NTEU’s options include:
Note: NTEU members are reminded that as part of a range of membership benefits they have access to affordable financial planning and advice: http://www.nteu.org.au/join/benefits