BBC strike threat lifts as pension dispute is resolved

An agreement to end a dispute at the BBC over changes to its pension scheme has been reached after talks between management and union leaders.

Members of the National Union of Journalists went on strike earlier this month for two days taking many news programmes off the air and they had raised the threat of further industrial action over Christmas if the row was not resolved.

In a message to staff last night Lucy Adams, director of BBC business operations, said: “As staff will know we met with the joint unions at ACAS today in order to resolve the final point of clarification around our pension proposals.

“We are pleased to say that discussions on behalf of the joint unions and the BBC reached a conclusion and an agreement in principle was signed by the joint unions on this final outstanding point.

“We now expect to move towards finalising our proposals and will keep you updated in the next few weeks.”

Press Gazette understands that a deal was reached as the BBC committed to reassess annual pension increases in its new defined contribution scheme in line with inflation or at four per cent, whichever was lower.

The BBC, which is attempting to reform its staff pension scheme after claiming it is in deficit to the tune of £1.5bn, declined to comment on the deal.

The National Union of Journalists issued a statement this morning saying union reps at the BBC would meet on Friday to consider the latest proposals to resolve their long-running pensions dispute.

“Union negotiators met with the BBC at ACAS on Tuesday and reached an agreement in principle which will be recommended for acceptance at the meeting on Friday,” the union said.

“NUJ members took strike action last month after the BBC sought to impose changes to the pension scheme in advance of the actuarial valuation next year.

“The union called on the BBC to hold off on implementing any changes until the deficit was known and also sought to limit the BBC’s ability to vary the rate at which pensions are revalued under the proposed new scheme.

“An agreement in principle covering these issues was reached after nine hours of talks at ACAS on Tuesday.”

The NUJ called off a second two-day strike last month to return to the negotiating table with the BBC. Other unions representing workers at the BBC had accepted earlier revised pension proposals.

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