ITN staff to strike over pensions

ITV and Channel 4 news programmes are under threat after ITN staff voted to go on strike twice this month in a row over pensions.

Members of the broadcasting union Bectu will walk out for 24 hours on 16 January and for an unspecified length of time on 23 January.

They are angry about changes ITN has proposed to its pensions scheme as it tries to make up a funding deficit.  

The union said it is confident the strike will secure a better deal for its members, while ITN said it had little room for negotiation.

ITN chief executive Mark Wood said: “We are confident that we will be able to maintain a full schedule of regular news programming for all outlets, including ITV and Channel 4.  

“The company has every interest in avoiding strike action if at all possible. However, we have made clear that ITN has little room for manoeuvre if it is to find ways to continue funding a defined benefits pension scheme.”

The proposals ITN made during a 60-day staff consultation were:

  • Increase the normal retirement age of the pension scheme from 60 to 65 years
  • Harmonise accrual rates from 1/50ths to 1/60ths of final pensionable pay for each complete year’s service
  • Change to a cap of 2.5% per annum or RPI on increases to future pensions in payment
  • That the new structure would not affect service accrued prior to the changes, deferred pensions or pensions currently in payment.

ITN currently has around 800 staff, 400 of whom are contributing members of the ITN defined benefits pension scheme. Of these 400 scheme members,180 are also union members.

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