AP journalists to ballot on industrial action

The NUJ and Bectu unions are to ballot their members at Associated Press over the news agency’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme.

The unions claim AP is ‘now offering an inadequate defined contribution scheme in its place”, and said they were campaigning for a ‘fair and decent pension provision for all”.

A statement from NUJ officials Laura Davison and David Ayrton said: “The company is not carrying out a meaningful consultation, allowing time to reach an agreement. Instead it is attempting to railroad through its proposals without listening to staff.”

The ballot for industrial action will close on 1 June.

The unions said they were committed to reaching a settlement and were prepared to attend ACAS, the arbitration and conciliation service, to settle the dispute.

AP’s media relations manager Erin Madigan White told Press Gazette: “After acceptance in principal from the Trustees of the UK pension plans, AP has been holding a series of employee consultation meetings as the next step in the proposal to freeze its defined benefits pension.

“Under the proposed changes, the defined benefits program would be replaced with a defined contribution plan. About 200 employees would be affected by the change. 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 continuing disruption in the media industry.”

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