Socialist Worker

BBC union reps discuss new pension proposals

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2231

A deal has been brokered between BBC management and representatives of the Bectu and NUJ unions at the corporation.

NUJ members struck for 48 hours last month against bosses’ plans to attack workers’ pensions. Bectu had made a deal with BBC management, leaving the NUJ to strike alone.

Bosses wanted to reduce eligible contributions to 1 percent of earnings and close the final salary pension scheme for new members.

NUJ leaders called off further planned strikes for talks.

Management had previously said that there would be no more talks or concessions and that the agreement reached was final.

However, talks at the Acas conciliation service have ended with new proposals that could end the dispute.

NUJ representatives demanded that pensions have a 4 percent “inflation proofing”—meaning that funds are more protected from stock market fluctuations.

They also want guarantees that if the BBC’s pension fund deficit is found to be less than the £1.5 billion predicted by bosses, talks will resume.

According to NUJ president Pete Murray, bosses have agreed to both of these demands—though they are “couched in qualifications”.

The union is recommending the deal, despite most of management’s attack remaining in place, and workers being prepared to fight on.

The 48-hour strike on 6 and 7 November was solid. Picket lines were determined and strongly supported.

But instead of offering leadership, the NUJ began to back away from the original demands of the campaign.

Reps from across the country were discussing the deal as Socialist Worker went to press. It seemed likely that they would accept it.

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Tue 7 Dec 2010, 18:03 GMT
Issue No. 2231
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