Socialist Worker

BBC workers balloting in defence of pensions

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2214

BBC workers leaflet outside Bush House in central London last week  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

BBC workers leaflet outside Bush House in central London last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


BBC workers have started a fightback against management attacks on their pensions.

It is a battle which will chime with millions of other workers who have seen their pension schemes ravaged in the last decade.

And it can give heart to the millions more who face a pensions assault in the near future.

Management plans will mean that workers’ pensions will not increase in line with their salaries.

Instead workers will get a fixed 1 percent yearly increase.

That means that each year pensions will be eroded by below inflation “increases”.

That is why workers are balloting for industrial action.

Up and down the country, workers at the BBC have held meetings and mobilised against their bosses.

Many members are confident there will be a resounding yes vote because of the anger and mood for a fightback.

The campaign involves all five of the unions representing the workers—Equity, Unite, the Musicians Union, Bectu and the NUJ.

Unity

They are balloting simultan­eously and plan to strike at the same time, which could shut the BBC down.

Management are already intimidated by the unity of workers.

The Guardian published a story last week claiming that BBC bosses are considering backing down over the plans.

But there’s no complacency among trade unionists.

On Friday last week, reps and activists leafleted BBC workplaces across the country to encourage people to vote.

Mike Workman, father of the NUJ chapel (rep) at the World Service was outside Bush House in central London.

He told Socialist Worker, “The response has been brilliant. People are increasingly angry.

“I’m confident of a large turnout and a large yes vote.”

The anger workers feel is fuelling many to join the unions and get involved in campaigning.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ union, told Socialist Worker, “Rather than minor concessions, the BBC must end their pensions robbery.

“It is simply not acceptable for the BBC to attack the value of pensions already earned, shift the risk from the BBC to individual staff whilst senior managers stand to get pensions of up to £400,000 a year.

“Unless the BBC guarantee the value of pensions already earned they will face ­determined and co-ordinated industrial action.”

The ballot closes on 1 September.


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