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BBC staff overwhelmingly back strike on pensions

1 September 2010

The joint unions at the BBC have today welcomed the overwhelming backing of their members for the campaign against drastic cuts to staff pensions.

In ballots, calling for strike action that closed at lunchtime today, more than 90 per cent of BECTU, NUJ and Unite members supported calls both for strike action and for action short of strike in opposition to what has been described as a "pensions robbery".

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, commenting on the ballot of NUJ members, said:

"The massive scale of this vote is unprecedented – it is a reflection of the wave of anger and sense of betrayal which has greeted the BBC's attempted pensions robbery. BBC management have an opportunity to avoid deeply damaging strike action by guaranteeing the value of pensions already earned and withdrawing their punitive and draconian proposals."

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, said:

"Today's massive ballot result confirms the extent of staff anger over the BBC's plans; we clearly have a resounding mandate for strike action to challenge the BBC on its plans to break its pensions agreement with staff."

Peter Skyte, Unite national officer, said:

"Our members have decisively demonstrated their opposition to the BBC's pensions and pay proposals. The BBC needs to think again about stealing pension benefits already earned and retaining a defined benefit pension scheme in order to regain the trust and support of its workforce for the challenging times that face the organisation in the future."

Joint union representatives from the across the country met in London this afternoon to consider the ballot results and to receive a briefing on the talks that continued with BBC management during August.

As a result of today's briefing, union representatives have decided that those talks should continue until mid-September when the BBC has said it will table alternative proposals. Any announcement on strike dates will be deferred until that time.

The BBC's plan to place a 1% cap on future pension increases continues to cause outrage amongst BBC staff.

Tags: , bbc, broadcasting, pensions, strike, ballot, bectu, unite