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BBC unions warn of likely strike ballot

30 June 2010

The NUJ has accused the BBC of a "pensions robbery" and an "unacceptable" pay cut – and warned it could lead to strike action.

The BBC joint unions – the NUJ, BECTU and Unite – have warned that a strike ballot on pay and pensions looks more likely after talks with BBC management on the 2010/11 pay review broke down with no agreement.

The BBC has offered staff a below-inflation flat rate increase of £475 for staff paid up to £37,726 a year. More than a third of BBC journalists will receive nothing. The unions have argued that the BBC can afford to pay more to its staff across the board given the 2 per cent rise in its licence fee income. The proposal on the table would increase the pay bill by just 1 per cent.

NUJ, BECTU and Unite negotiators will meet with BBC staff over the next few weeks at a series of meetings across the country starting on 5 July.

Union reps from all three unions will meet in London on 19 July to assess the feedback.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"If the BBC fails to address the real concerns members have over pay and pensions then a ballot for industrial action seems inevitable".
"At a time of yet more job cuts and ever-increasing workloads, BBC management have launched an audacious pensions grab. A third of BBC staff are to be rewarded with a pay freeze, the rest will receive the equivalent of 1%.
"It is unacceptable, unfair and no way to reward hard work and dedication. For all staff it amounts to a real terms pay cut.
"What's more, the BBC refuses to rule out a pay freeze for all staff in 2011. BBC staff aren't greedy – they know the value of public service, they're proud to work for the BBC. But they get angry at excessive management salaries, at having to cut corners on programmes or work excessive hours to make up for staffing shortages.
"The BBC has had a 2% licence fee increase for 2010 – staff should not have to accept less than an equivalent pay rise. Instead 35% of our members will receive nothing.
"Last year, we reluctantly accepted a below-inflation pay rise, we accepted a pay freeze for those earning over £60,000 p.a., staff agreed to pay more for their pensions. Now we're being asked to take another hit.
"Members of the BBC's Executive Committee, who have enriched themselves out of the public purse, now expect BBC staff to pay for their costly mistakes out of their own pockets."

Tags: , strike, pensions, bbc, broadcasting, ballot, cuts, pay, pay freeze, bectu, unite