Socialist Worker

BBC bosses on the defensive over pensions

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2215

Bosses at the BBC have, in a display of nervousness, been forced to cut their own generous pension scheme after anger exploded amongst staff over attacks on their pensions.

BBC director Mark Thompson announced significant reductions to top managers’ pensions, after their protected scheme was exposed by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The BBC is attacking workers’ pensions by capping contributions at one percent of pay and closing the final salary pension scheme to new starters.

The attack has prompted BBC workers to ballot for strikes.

Thompson will lose £163,000 from his whopping £838,000 pay package—a drop of almost 20 per cent. Cutting the executive board’s retirement scheme will save £646,000 annually and cuts to a further 20 top staff who get the pension top up will mean total savings of over £1 million.

The bosses claim there is a £2 million shortfall in the pensions of BBC workers. But much of this is due to management taking an employer’s “contributions holiday” in recent years.

A positive vote for action could see a national strike involving workers represented by five unions—NUJ, Bectu, Unite, the Musicians Union and Equity—walking out together. The ballot closes on 2 September.

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Tue 17 Aug 2010, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2215
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