Socialist Worker

BBC pensions

The unions at the BBC are preparing a ballot against management’s plans to scrap its final salary pension scheme and raise the retirement age. Pete Murray from the NUJ union national executive spoke to Socialist Worker about the fight.

Issue No. 1999

‘The four BBC unions met last week – the NUJ, Bectu, Amicus and the Musicians’ Union – and everyone agreed that the BBC’s pensions proposals were completely unacceptable.

There was a unanimous vote for strike action at the meeting.

If management are not prepared to negotiate there will be an immediate move to a ballot.

Under the guidelines of the BBC system, management can put out the proposals to consultation and ignore whatever members of staff say. Management holds the majority on the pensions trustee group so it can push through its plans.

We are in a similar situation to where we were over job cuts last year. BBC director general Mark Thompson has made a threat, while the unions want proper negotiations.

The union is demanding that the scheme remains open to everyone, the age of retirement is not raised and to keep the level of staff contributions to 7.5 percent of pay.

A chapel (union branch) meeting in Glasgow last week over the proposals was very well-attended. People voted unanimously for a ballot for strike action.

People are angry and very worried. In the last year Mark Thompson has kicked away the pillar of job security and now wants to do the same with pensions. This is despite the pension scheme being stable and in surplus.

If the scheme is closed to new entrants as this will make it less worthwhile to everyone.

There is a real contrast in the public sector.

Those public sector workers on strike in March were defending pensions worth thousands.

Those wanting to tear them up have pensions worth millions. The same is true in the BBC.’


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News
Sat 6 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1999
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