BBC staff to strike as NUJ members reject final offer on pensions

The BBC will be hit by strike action next month after National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members voted to reject the corporation management’s revised pension proposals.

Approximately 70% of NUJ members voted to reject what director general Mark Thompson has described as a “final offer” on changes to the BBC’s final-salary pension scheme.

However, the other four broadcasting unions representing BBC staff – Bectu, the Musicians’ Union, Equity and Unite – all voted to accept the revised offer.

Members of the NUJ, which has around 4,000 BBC members, will strike for 48 hours on 5 and 6 November, and then again on 15 and 16 November, with “further dates to be named in the coming days”.

NUJ 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 a ‘pensions robbery’. That hasn’t changed. The BBC has now left members with no choice but to take action to defend their pensions.”

BBC management expects to push ahead with implementing the pension changes, which it argues are even more “realistic, affordable and fair” than when they were first tabled given the recent licence fee settlement with the Government that will lead to a funding cut of 16% in real terms over four years from April 2011, reports the Guardian.

Senior BBC executives intend to “urge the NUJ to reconsider” its position over the period until 15 November, while it conducts a consultation with non-union staff.

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