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21 July 2010

Unions at the BBC have today (Wednesday 21 July) confirmed to management that they will be conducting ballots for strike action over pay and pensions.

BECTU, the largest union in the BBC, will be issuing formal notice to the Corporation next week. Ballot papers will be issued on the 5 August with a closing date of 1 September. 

Confirmation of the decision to proceed with the ballots followed the BBC’s declaration this morning that it is not prepared to withdraw its controversial proposals on pensions and is not offering to fully protect the value of pensions already accrued. 

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, who is leading the talks on behalf of BECTU, the NUJ, Unite, the Musicians’ Union and Equity, advised the BBC that, in the circumstances, the unions would have to protect the options available to their members by securing a mandate for action in the event that talks fail. 

BBC management and union representatives will continue meeting throughout August.

Commenting on the outcome of today’s meeting, Gerry Morrissey said:

“We are extremely disappointed that the BBC has refused to withdraw its proposals to allow talks to continue without the pressure of deadlines. The biggest issue facing our members is the proposal to limit increases in pensionable pay to a maximum one per cent a year.

“This is unacceptable to the thousands of BBC staff who are paying into a scheme which promises to pay a pension which relates to their final salary.”

The unions’ ballot will also dispute the BBC’s offer on pay. Staff paid up to £37,726 have been offered a flat rate increase of £475 for 2010/11; staff earning over that sum are in line for a pay freeze.

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