NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has predicted union members at the BBC will vote ‘No' in the consultative ballot on the new pension proposals and strike action would become “inevitable” unless management revisited its latest offer.
Dear also warned expected cuts of up to 25% at the BBC World Service, the closure of services and on-going job cuts caused by a freeze in licence fee funding would lead to “more disputes, strikes and a growing sense of discontent”.
He said: “The BBC’s latest pension proposals are the result of months of tough negotiations but the fact is they remain unfair and unacceptable to a majority of staff. Thousands of staff are expected to pay more for less and to work longer for the privilege. With the prospect of pensions being devalued by tens of thousands of pounds it is little wonder that the overwhelming mood at meetings is to reject and to campaign for a fairer pensions deal.
“Add to that anger the massive pay off Mark Byford has been given, the threat of job cuts and service closures at the World Service and the inevitable consequence that as a result of the funding freeze fewer staff will be expected to cut more corners to deliver BBC services and there is a real prospect of a winter of growing discontent”.
Ballot papers are being issued to around 10,000 union members tomorrow. The ballot will close on 28 October. Strikes scheduled for the 19 and 20 October have been postponed to allow for the ballot to take place but the NUJ said a 24-hour work to rule will take place on 22 October and the unions are to inform the BBC of a series of additional strike dates which may be activated in the event of a no vote in the consultative ballot.
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