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Stop the BBC pensions robbery

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) website carries a series of reports with some brilliant pictures of picket lines around the country. The strikes involved over 4000 BBC staff.

The dispute concerns the new “pay more, receive less” pensions scheme, that will leave many BBC staff tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off in retirement. The BBC’s rationale for the move – that a potential £2bn hole in the pensions fund means that they have no choice – has been blown apart by reports the BBC commissioned from independent financial experts – which show the figure to be closer to £1bn.

Although BECTU, UNITE and the Musicians Union have voted to accept the BBC’s proposals, this is conditional on these unions recieving further improvments from the BBC  if the deficit following the triennial review is less than £1.5 billion. If the BBC refuse to talk then BECTU will be balloting their members again for industrial action. BECTU has instructed members not to undertake any work that would normally be done by striking NUJ colleagues.

The determination of journalists to continue with this action even though the other unions have settled is a tribute to the NUJ, and they showed their power as the BBC’s highly respected news output was particularly badly affected, and the NUJ reportedly even had a picket in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the news on the World Service was completely off-air, damaging the prestige of the corporation and the government.

The union has proposed an alternative strategy for resolving the deficit, that you can read here.

There is now a strict work to rule in place for all NUJ members across the corporation, with a further 48-hour strike on 15th/16th November. Further strike dates, including Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and New Years Eve/New Years Day are under consideration.

Incidently there is very comprehensive coverage of the dispute from the new trade union blog from Red Pepper, Workers United. And see thesegood picture reports:

Picket lines in London by Jess Hurd
Picket line in Birmingham by Stalingrad O’Neill
Around the country from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

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