Strike looms as unions reject BBC pay and pensions offer

BBC journalists have threatened a series of strikes over job cuts, pensions and pay, following the huge pay rises awarded to senior management, understood to total 30 per cent over three years.

The joint unions — Bectu, Amicus and the NUJ — have all rejected the BBC's pay offer of 2.6 per cent, which is below the current rate of inflation.

The unions have also rejected the small increase to night payments and the latest BBC proposals over the scrapping of its final salary pension scheme.

The NUJ said that despite five meetings with the BBC, the broad thrust of the proposals remain unchanged. The ballot for strike action will begin next week.

Unions have asked to discuss pay and pensions with BBC director general Mark Thompson, who received an 8.7 per cent pay rise to £619,000.

NUJ broadcast organiser Paul McLaughlin told Press Gazette: "It's staggering. They've had a consultation not just with the unions — they consulted with all the pension scheme members. They came back in large numbers against the proposed changes, but the BBC has just decided to ignore every voice that they have heard.

"The consultation figures are between 80 to 90 per cent opposed to the changes the BBC is planning. The consultation is clearly a sham — the BBC is not listening to its staff."

A separate meeting was due to take place on Thursday afternoon, during which the subject of the seven potential job cuts within the news division — including three from current affairs — will be discussed.

The restructuring of staff also featured in the corporation's annual report, released last week. It revealed that 1,132 jobs were cut last year and a further 2,000 are to go next year.

Thompson said in the report that one of the biggest changes for the corporation has been the journey from traditional "linear" broadcasting to interactive, on-demand digital media.

He said: "The BBC's journalism used to be a largely one-way form of communication.

Now eyewitnesses can upload their testimony within seconds and bloggers can take any national or global debate far beyond the studio."

According to the report, 76 per cent of the British public questioned by MORI say they trust BBC News programmes to give them the most "fair, informed and balanced view on important events" compared to other news programmes.

The weekly reach for BBC news on television, radio and online in the last 12 months was 79 per cent of the UK adult population, compared with last year's figure of 81 per cent.

 

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