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BECTU condemns BBC pension changes

Gerry Morrissey pictured at a meeting in February 2010 Gerry Morrissey is urging members to attend meetings from 5 July. Pic Stefano Cagnoni

29 June 2010

BECTU has today (29 June) condemned the Corporation’s confirmation of plans to radically change pension provision for current and future staff from December this year.

The BBC has agreed to demands from BECTU, the NUJ and Unite to keep the current pension schemes open to existing staff. In addition the BBC has conceded no change to the retirement age, no changes to accrual rates and no further increases in employee contributions.

Cutting the link between salary levels and pensionable pay

However, following the BBC’s announcement that the defined benefit schemes have a deficit of almost £2billion, today (29 June) the Corporation proposed a number of significant changes which are now subject to 90 days consultation with the recognised unions and with members of the pension schemes in the BBC, BBC Worldwide and Studios and Post Production Ltd.

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The proposed key changes would see the defined benefit pension / career average schemes closed to new employees from December 2010. For current members future increases in pensionable pay would be capped at a maximum 1% per year irrespective of the level of any pay award or increases following staff promotions.

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, says:

 “BECTU and our sister unions at the BBC have been campaigning in advance of the announcements for the pension schemes to remain open and we welcome the fact that current staff will continue to accrue benefits.

“However the restriction on future pensionable salary increases of 1% will permanently break the link between an individual’s salary and their final pension.

“In addition, the employment benefits package will not be as attractive to new employees and we believe that the BBC will struggle to attract staff with the appropriate skills levels, especially as the BBC will be recruiting a significant number of people for Salford from January 2011.”

Meeting the members

BECTU and its co-organisers in the NUJ and Unite, will be holding a series of meetings across the country from 5 July to gather members’ views on the proposals.

Gerry Morrissey added:

 “We think it is premature at this stage to talk about industrial action, especially as we are also in negotiations on the annual pay award. When we have completed our meetings with members we will then know what direction our members want the union to take.”

It is anticipated that pensions negotiations with the BBC will continue throughout the consultation period which is set to conclude in September.

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