NUJ to go it alone on BBC pension strike

Members of the National Union of Journalists working across the BBC are set to go out on strike after rejecting the latest deal offered to them on pension reform.

According to the NUJ, 70 per cent of its members at the BBC rejected the latest pension proposals from management while members of four other unions in dispute with the corporation agreed to the new terms.

Union reps today agreed plans for a series of strikes and other industrial action with the threat of a walkout at Christmas on the cards. It believed that in total there are around 3,500 NUJ members at the BBC who could be involved.

The first two 48-hour strikes have been set for 5 and 6 November and 15 and 16 November with further dates to be named in the coming days.

NUJ members will also refuse to take on additional duties or volunteer for acting up duties as part of an indefinite work to rule, the union said.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ, 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.”

The BBC wants to change the pension terms on offer to its employees to tackle a claimed deficit of more than £1.5 billion in the scheme.

Members of the NUJ, along with colleagues at Bectu, Unite, Equity and the Musician’s Union had planned to take industrial action against what they saw as swinging proposals to cut their pensions but the joint unions called off a planned strike after the BBC Executive produced a “significantly improved” offer on pensions at the 11th hour earlier this month.

The unions said they wanted time for their members to consider the new terms on offer. Those terms have now been accepted by members of Bectu, Unite, Equity and the Musicians’ Union despite members of the NUJ rejecting the offer.

Gerry Morrissey, Bectu general secretary, said: “I believe that the outcome of these talks, given the climate which the BBC and other public bodies face today, represents a decent settlement for BBC staff and is one that would not been have been achieved without the enduring support of our members and their local representatives.

“However, there is no hiding the fact that even with the improvements we have negotiated members will in future have less favourable terms than exist currently.”

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