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More than 2,000 BBC journalists vote for strike action

Strike time: The joint unions, BECTU, the NUJ and Unite on Wednesday welcomed the overwhelming backing of union members in the BBC for the unions' campaign against drastic cuts to staff pensions.

More than 2,000 journalists working for the BBC at centres across the UK have voted in favour of strike action in protest at planned reforms to their pension scheme. Figures released Wednesday night by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) reveal the extent to which its members are angered by management proposals to cap their pension contributions.

Of around 3,500 NUJ members at the BBC, 2,251 voted in the ballot with 2,107 (94 per cent) voting for strike action and 2,175 (97 per cent) voting for some form of industrial action short of a strike. At BBC Worldwide, 50 per cent of BECTU’s members took part in the ballot with all voting for strike action, while at BBC Studios & Post Production, 48 per cent of members took part in the vote with 85 per cent voting for strike action.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said, "The massive scale of this vote is unprecedented – it is a reflection of the wave of anger and sense of betrayal which has greeted the BBC's attempted pensions robbery. BBC management have an opportunity to avoid deeply damaging strike action by guaranteeing the value of pensions already earned and withdrawing their punitive and draconian proposals."

BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey said, "Today's massive ballot result confirms the extent of staff anger over the BBC's plans; we clearly have a resounding mandate for strike action to challenge the BBC on its plans to break its pensions agreement with staff."

Unite national officer Peter Skyte said, "Our members have decisively demonstrated their opposition to the BBC's pensions and pay proposals. The BBC needs to think again about stealing pension benefits already earned and retaining a defined benefit pension scheme in order to regain the trust and support of its workforce for the challenging times that face the organisation in the future."

Joint union representatives from the across the country met in London Wednesday afternoon to consider the ballot results and to receive a briefing on the talks which continued with BBC management during August. As a result of today's briefing, union representatives have decided that those talks should continue until mid-September when the BBC has said it will table alternative proposals. Any announcement on strike dates will be deferred until that time.

The BBC's plan to place a 1 per cent cap on future pension increases continues to cause outrage amongst BBC staff.

Date posted: September 2, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 182