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17 February 2012

Grant Cassidy, a long standing BECTU representative, now based in Salford Quays, is standing for re-election as a member-elected trustee of the BBC pension scheme. Grant has the support of all three major BBC unions, BECTU, the NUJ and Unite.

Ballot papers will be sent electronically to BBC staff on Monday 20 February by the independent scrutineers, ERS. Each ballot paper will be accompanied by Grant's formal election statement (word limit 200).

The ballot will run over three weeks, closing on Monday 12 March 2012.

Read more from Grant Cassidy

I am standing for re-election as a member elected trustee, again supported by the three joint unions (BECTU, the NUJ and UNITE).

I’m 47 years old and have worked for BBC News for over 20 years as a studio manager, and am now a studio director in Salford having moved north to work across Radio 5Live news and sport.

I have been involved with BECTU for nearly as long and am currently a member of the National Joint Council team negotiating with the BBC at the very top, as well as being a local union rep, so I have a lot of experience in dealing with high level issues and problems that affect all of us.

I have been a trustee of the pension scheme for the last 6 years, and it is a role that I take very seriously. I attend the main Board of the pension scheme and am also on the Investment Committee; on top of this, I, and the other trustees, have regular training sessions throughout the year to update us on pension regulation changes, as well as economic updates and forecasts from some of our advisors.

The role of a trustee is to protect the pensions that we have all earned and to ensure that the money is there when we retire. The pension currently has a large deficit, mainly due to the huge economic turmoil that the world has gone through over the past few years and seems to be continuing, though longevity, the fact that we are all living longer and longer is also making pensions more and more costly. 

There are no quick fixes or easy solutions despite what some people may say. I didn’t agree with the way in which the BBC changed the pensions last year, though something had to be done, and I wish that the BBC had discussed this more openly with staff and trustees.

The scheme is now closed to new entrants who must make do with life-plan; however whatever scheme you are in, old or new benefits, or CAB 2006 or 2011, it's all in the same pot of money, though the pot at the moment is far from full. The recovery plan agreed with the BBC will help along with expected return from investments though funding pensions is incredibly complicated and the trustees whilst they are trying to get the scheme fully funded again (no deficit) are also on a journey plan over the next decade or so to change they way in which we invest to ensure that we are not affected as much by quick changing economic downturns that plunge us into deficit in a short space of time. This also means that we mustn’t make knee jerk reactions to changes in the world as the pension scheme is a long term investor; I support this way forward as it is vitally important that we de-risk our pensions over the long term.

I hope that you will vote in the election for the member nominated trustee and I ask that you support me for another 6 years.

Grant Cassidy.


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