NUJ to strike over BBC pension offer

National Union of Journalists members at the BBC have voted to strike over the Corporation’s proposed pension offer, claiming that the final offer received from director general Mark Thompson amounts to “pensions robbery”.

70 per cent of BBC NUJ members voted in favour of striking over the proposals, with the first 48 hour strike to take place next week on 5 and 6 November, and again on 15 and 16 November. Further dates are set to be announced in the coming days. The NUJ has also announced union staff will only work to rule.

However, the NUJ will be going it alone, as it was the only union to vote against the pension offer. Other unions present at the BBC – Bectu, Unite, Equity and the Musician’s Union – accepted Thompson’s final offer. Furthermore, it is unknown how many NUJ members actually voted in the ballot.

In a statement on the NUJ website, Jeremy Dear, general secretary for the NUJ stated: “This massive vote against the BBC’s latest proposal comes as no surprise, given the fundamental ‘pay more – work longer – get less’ nature of the offer. NUJ members across the BBC have consistently dubbed the proposals a ‘pensions robbery’. That hasn’t changed. The BBC have [sic] now left members with no choice but to take action to defend their pensions.

“Staff are angry at continued management excess, believe they have been sold down the river in recent negotiations with the government and refuse to pay with their jobs and their pensions.”

The BBC has urged the NUJ – which consists of 17 per cent of the BBC workforce – to reconsider its position, as the walkout could possibly affect the Corporation in the run-up to Christmas. Director of people at the BBC, Lucy Adams, insisted that there would be no further changes to the pension offer, without risking staff lay-offs.

“”As we have previously communicated to the unions, this is our final pensions offer and we cannot afford to make any further adjustments without impacting on jobs and services,” she said.

(Source: NUJ, MediaGuardian)

Image taken by Flickr user Lee Jordan, licensed under Creative Commons.

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