By Caitlin Pike
The National Union of Journalists has pledged to fight the BBC over any detrimental changes made to its pension scheme which the union claims would break a promise to protect the scheme that the corporation made to staff in July 2003.
It believes BBC management may be planning to close the scheme to new entrants, force current staff to pay more and to extend the retirement age by up to five years. It has called for BBC management to be open with staff about their plans for the scheme, which has 20,000 members, making it one of the biggest in the country.
NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: "If these rumours are true the BBC will create a two-tier workforce, make some staff work longer and expect all staff to pay more for the privilege of doing so. Promises to staff that the pension scheme is safe in management’s hands will be shown to be nothing more than a lie if the BBC pursues these plans."
A BBC spokeswoman said: "The BBC scheme is healthy, and cash positive — that is, more money is paid into the scheme each year than is paid out.
One important purpose of a regular actuarial valuation is to look into the future to ensure the scheme remains healthy. It continues to be our intention to publish the actuarial results after Easter and, at the same time, any proposals to ensure the future health of the scheme. The BBC continues to believe that a strong and healthy pension scheme is an important part of the BBC’s reward package."