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BBC pensions dispute: ballot underway this week

12 October 2010

BECTU has confirmed today (Tuesday 12 October) that the consultative ballot on pay and pensions will get underway later this week.

The ballot, which will be administered by independent scrutineers, the ERS, will start with the issue of papers on Thursday 14 October and will close at 12 noon on Thursday 28 October.

As a result of the BBC's revised offer, union members will be assessing three options on pensions going forward:

  • to remain in their current scheme with future increases to pensionable salary capped at 1% a year;
  • to leave their current scheme and join CAB 2011 (a new career average benefits scheme) thus protecting the value of previously accrued pensions entitlements. All future increases in pay would be pensionable in CAB 2011; the accrual rate would be 60ths; employees' contributions would be 6% (plus additional NI of 1.5%) and the retirement age would be 65.
  • to join, along with all new staff from 1 December 2010, a new defined contributions scheme. The employee's contribution rate would be from 4% and would be matched by employer contributions up to 10%. 

Joint union reps agreed on 1 October that the BBC's revised offer would be shared with members in a consultative ballot; talks since that time have focussed on clarifying the treatment of current staff with AVC schemes or those who are buying added years.

The logo reads, Your Pay, Your Pension, Your Union, Join BECTU NowThe members' consultative ballot will run from 14-28 October 2010.

AVCs and Added Years

The BBC has confirmed that a fund of up to £5m a year will be shared amongst all eligible staff who transfer into CAB 2011 or the defined contribution scheme. The BBC is proposing to match the first £10,000 of an employee's AVC fund up to 3% or £300.

Strike action 19 & 20 October withdrawn

To coincide with confirmation of the ballot arrangements, BECTU has also today advised the BBC that the notification of strike action on for 19 and 20 October is  withdrawn. 

Action short of strike on 22 October

However, in order to protect the strike ballot mandate during the on-going consultation with members, BECTU has notified the BBC of plans for action short of strike starting at 00.01 on Friday 22 October and ending on 23.59 that day.

Members will be instructed to insist on an 11-hour break from the end of duty on 21 October to the start of duty on 22 October and to refuse to work shifts in excess of 12 hours; in addition members will be instructed to refuse to work for more than six hours without a break.

Union members will receive full details of the BBC's wide ranging offer on pensions, the 2010/11 pay review, redundancy treatment and acting-up procedures with their ballot papers.

The union will not be recommending to members how they should vote in the ballot. However the union's officials will state:

"In BECTU's view this is the best that can be achieved through negotiation and we believe that to try and improve this offer would take substantial and lengthy industrial action from all our members with significant loss in salary."

Speaking today, Helen Ryan, BBC supervisory official, said:

“We are approaching a critical stage in this dispute with the issue of ballot papers on 14 October. We encourage all members to study their options carefully and to make sure that they vote in this most important of ballots.”

Query? Contact us with BBC Pensions Dispute in the subject header.

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