the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

19 July 2010

More than 70 representatives from BECTU, the NUJ and Unite met in London this afternoon (Monday 19 July) to agree a position on BBC pay and pensions following two full weeks of staff briefings at BBC sites across the UK. The union meetings were described as the best attended for many years.

Following today's discussions, the joint unions wrote to the BBC's human resources team to urge a withdrawal of the Corporation's current proposals on pensions in favour of a "meaningful and constructive dialogue .... regarding all options available to address the pension deficit".

Senior union officials are due to meet BBC management again on Wednesday 21 July.

Read the unions' letter in full

Representatives fedback today on the staff response to plans to cut the link between basic pay and staff retirement earnings. Representatives spoke with one voice to confirm the mandate from their members for a ballot for industrial action should the BBC be unwilling to act to protect the pensions entitlements so far accrued.  

The BBC's proposal, tabled last month to address a pensions deficit of £1.97bn, would limit increases in pensionable pay to a maximum one per cent a year irrespective of the level of annual increases or the value of promotional rises.

Both sides agree that the proposals affect all BBC staff, whatever their length of service. The joint unions believe that many BBC staff could face poverty in retirement as a result. 

Speaking to the meeting, Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, underlined the importance of the joint union challenge on pensions for both current and future staff and he echoed the determination of representatives to represent the needs of the ordinary BBC employee.

"BBC staff should be proud of the pay and pensions arrangements currently in place and which they and their unions have fought for over many years. 

"We cannot allow hostility to the BBC from certain quarters to dissuade us from representing the interests of our members. The BBC's reputation is being damaged by the greed of its managers and not by the rank and file BBC employee," commented Gerry Morrissey.

Pay and pensions 

The unions campaign will also continue to address the BBC's poor offer on pay for 2010/11 which proposes a pay freeze for all staff paid over £37,726 and which seeks to jettison important, long-standing agreements between the BBC and the recognised unions which have helped staff facing redundancy to secure redeployment.

Under the BBC's current proposals 30 per cent of BECTU's membership in the BBC would see no increase in pay this coming year. 

Union membership is key

Union membership is increasing on the back of the current campaign but there remains a signficant number of BBC staff who are failing to add their weight to this most important of battles.

Today reps urged BBC staff generally to join their union whether it be BECTU, the NUJ or Unite. BECTU is recognised to represent all grades of BBC staff. More information about BECTU membership.