Monday 8 November 2010

Dear to BBC: 'Wait to see size of pension defecit and we will suspend industrial action'

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has said the only way a fair settlement of the pensions dispute at the BBC can be achieved is to wait for a proper assessment of the defecit in the pension fund.

He addedd the NUJ would suspend industrial action immediately if the BBC agreed to reopen negotiations should the deficit turn out to be less than £1.5bn.

Dear said: “We’re determined to achieve a pensions settlement which is fair – but the only way we can know what is fair is by knowing exactly how big the pensions fund deficit is. The BBC have variously claimed that it’s £2bn, or £1.5bn, or somewhere in-between.

“We’re saying that in advance of the deficit being properly assessed and us all finally knowing the actual size of the deficit, the BBC should not impose changes now. The pension fund’s regular, scheduled, assessment is due early next year. If the BBC agree to reopen negotiations should the deficit turn out to be less than £1.5bn - and make it clear that in the meantime, any changes currently planned would not have an actual impact on any individual's pension entitlement before we know the true size of the deficit, we will suspend industrial action immediately.

“Our sister union, Bectu, with whom we represent over 10,000 of the BBC’s 17,000 employees, share our insistence that should the deficit turn out to be less than £1.5bn, the BBC must talk again or face industrial action. It is therefore madness to force through changes now, based on figures that may turn out to be over-inflated.”

  • In an email to staff, BBC director-general Mark Thompson ruled out new talks with the NUJ. He said: "We have already reached a final position with four out of five of the BBC unions. We cannot and will not enter fresh negotiations or contemplate fresh changes to the agreed offer on pension reform no matter how much industrial action there is from the NUJ."

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