BBC given ultimatum as staff vote to strike

Beleaguered BBC managers have been given one last chance by unions after staff voted overwhelmingly for strike action.Some 93.6 per cent of members from Bectu, Unite and the National Union of Journalists voted to down tools in the row over pensions.

However, unions have agreed to postpone industrial action for two weeks while BBC executives try to come up with acceptable proposals.

In a bid to cut a £2bn pension deficit, the Beeb angered staff by proposing to close its final-salary scheme to new joiners while imposing a cap of just one per cent growth per year on existing members.

With all parties agreeing to go back to the negotiating table, concessions by the BBC to resolve the dispute are expected.

“This is a significant mandate for strikes, which demonstrates how out of touch BBC executives are with their staff,” said Bectu’s general secretary Gerry Morrissey. “We hope they will now come up with more realistic proposals, otherwise we will have no alternative but to call industrial action.”

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear added: “We have agreed to give the BBC two weeks to come back with an improved offer or face a concerted campaign of industrial action.”

The last time BBC staff went on strike was in 2005, over job cuts.

This article appears in issue 250 of Media Digest.

(Source: MediaGuardian)

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