Socialist Worker

What has been won at the BBC?

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2228

Planned Strikes over pensions by members of the NUJ journalists’ union at the BBC were called off after management promised talks last week.

Union reps at the corporation decided to suspend the strikes that were set for Monday and Tuesday.

The NUJ was left to fight the attack on pensions alone after the Bectu union made a deal with the bosses after securing tiny concessions.

The NUJ began the dispute demanding that all the BBC’s attacks on pensions were withdrawn.

These included making workers contribute more to the scheme to get less out, capping pensionable income and closing the final salary scheme to new members.

The deal that Bectu agreed was rejected by 70 percent of NUJ members, who struck solidly on 5 and 6 November.

Bectu members—many of them critical of the deal—showed solidarity while others joined the NUJ so they could strike.

It was a mistake to call off the strikes. Management is refusing to alter its plans.

Director-general Mark Thompson emailed all staff saying, “The BBC has not changed its pension reform package in any way.

“We cannot afford to revisit the terms of the agreement we reached with the joint unions at the beginning of October and will not do so.”

He only offers to meet unions to offer “greater clarification” about the issues.

This should not have been enough for the action to have been called off.

The power of the first strike showed that workers could have won more if they continued with the strikes.


Brighton Argus

Journalists at the Brighton Argus newspaper chapel voted to strike for two days on Thursday and Friday of this week. They are furious at plans to move production to Southampton. This would mean the loss of five sub-editing jobs plus the editor’s post at the Worthing Sentinel.


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News
Tue 16 Nov 2010, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2228
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