AP could face Olympic strike disruption

NUJ and Bectu members at Associated Press have announced two days of strike action this month – and warned they could take industrial action during the Olympics.

Staff at Associated Press and Associated Press Television News (APTN) said the strikes could ‘herald the start of a summer of action’in response to the agency’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme.

The 24-hour strikes have been scheduled for Monday 11 June and Sunday 17 June.

Among NUJ members at Associated Press Television News (APTN) there was a 100 per cent cent vote for strike action and at AP there was a 87.5 per cent approval. The turnout was 79.5 per cent at APTN and 80 per cent at AP.

In a joint statement, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, and Gerry Morrissey, Bectu general secretary, said: ‘Members have made it clear this is not a short-term dispute.

‘They are committed to improving pension provision at AP for the long term. The unions want to negotiate a settlement to this dispute. The dedicated staff at AP and APTN do not deserve the poor replacement pension on offer with a much reduced employer contribution.

‘A world class company, can and should do better by its staff in terms of sustainable pension provision. The mood of the staff is very determined and unless common sense prevails on the management side industrial action will take place next week.”

AP said it was confident the action would not cause any disruption to its service.

AP media relations director Paul Colford said: “After receiving acceptance, in principle, from the Trustees of the UK pension plans to freeze its defined benefit pension plan effective June 30, 2012, AP is now in a 60-day consultation period with staff. The change will affect about 200 employees.

“Like other news organizations and businesses in recent years, AP can no longer offer a defined benefits program as it moves forward amid global economic challenges and continued disruption in the media business.

“AP is an independent news organization and receives no government or other support. It is solely reliant on the licensing of its content to support its staff in their newsgathering mission. AP’s defined benefits program in the United States was replaced by a defined contribution plan a year ago, in June of 2011.

“We expect to meet our service obligations as usual, with no disruptions.”

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