Associated Press strike over pension dispute called off

The NUJ and BECTU unions have called off their threatened strike action at Associated Press after an ‘eleventh-hour’intervention by management.

The first 24-hour strike was due to begin at 7am this morning in a dispute over AP’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme, with another scheduled for next weekend.

The NUJ said the action was called off when AP management agreed to talk to the unions about changes to its pension deal.

The union said: ‘The NUJ is pleased that AP management has agreed to enter into meaningful talks over pension provision at the company. On the basis of these talks, which will begin next week, the joint unions have agreed to call off the planned strike action.”

AP said the pension dispute was resolved on Friday.

‘In late 2010, The Associated Press announced it would freeze its defined benefit pension plan for London staff,’it said.

‘The freeze will keep the defined pension benefit earned to date for staff, but going forward staff will have a defined contribution plan.

‘Like other news organizations and businesses in recent years, AP can no longer offer a defined benefits program as it moves forward amid global economic challenges and continuing disruption in the media industry.

‘AP’s defined benefits program in the United States was converted to a defined contribution plan last June.’

Among NUJ members at Associated Press Television News (APTN) there was a 100 per cent cent vote for strike action and at AP there was a 87.5 per cent approval. The turnout was 79.5 per cent at APTN and 80 per cent at AP.

The unions had threatened to take industrial action during the London Olympics.

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