Friday, October 29, 2010

BBC Journalist Union NUJ Sets Strikes Over Pension Plan, While Technicians Union BECTU Accepts 'Final Offer'


BBC journalists have called two 48-hour strikes starting next week in the dispute over staff pension reform. But the pubcaster's other main union, BECTU, which represents technicians, has voted to accept what director general Mark Thompson described as a final offer.

The journos' first two-day walkout begins Nov. 5, with the second set to begin Nov. 15, following a 70% vote in favor of the move. More strikes are being lined up over the December holiday season.

The offer accepted by Bectu bases pensions on average pay instead of the existing final salary scheme, regarded as one of the most generous pension plans in the U.K.

National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear said, "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 pensions robbery. That hasn't changed."

The NUJ represents 17% of the pubcaster's staff.

In an email to employees after the results of the strike ballots were announced on Thursday, Lucy Adams, director of people at the BBC, said management was "pleased that the offer was accepted by the majority of union members."

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