Jeremy Dear
National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear has predicted that BBC staff will reject the latest pension proposals from the broadcaster as the union awaits the opening of a fresh ballot tomorrow.

The newest proposals halted strike action last week to allow union members to consider the new offer, but today general secretary Jeremy Dear said strike action would be "inevitable" unless the BBC reviewed its position.

"The BBC's latest pension proposals are the result of months of tough negotiations but the fact is they remain unfair and unacceptable to a majority of staff. Thousands of staff are expected to pay more for less and to work longer for the privilege. With the prospect of pensions being devalued by tens of thousands of pounds it is little wonder that the overwhelming mood at meetings is to reject and to campaign for a fairer pensions deal."

But in an email to staff outlining the latest proposals earlier this month, director-general Mark Thompson had said the adjustments should be taken as a "final position" from the broadcaster.

More than 90 per cent of union members voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot last month, following original proposals which included closure of the final salary scheme to newcomers and capping the growth of pensionable salaries of existing members to one per cent.

Despite a new option being put forward by the BBC in September, unions served notice of strike action but the first proposed dates (5/6 October) were cancelled following another offer from the BBC.

Strikes planned for 19 and 20 October were postponed and ballot papers will be handed out to roughly 10,000 union members tomorrow which will ask whether they accept or reject the offer. The ballot closes on 28 October.

The NUJ added that a 24-hour 'work to rule' will also take place on 22 October and that the unions will be informing the BBC of a series of additional strike dates "which may be activated in the event of a no vote in the consultative ballot".

Dear added that the BBC faced a "winter of growing discontent".

"... Add to that anger the massive pay off Mark Byford has been given, the threat of job cuts and service closures at the World Service and the inevitable consequence that as a result of the funding freeze fewer staff will be expected to cut more corners to deliver BBC services and there is a real prospect of a winter of growing discontent”.

The BBC has been approached for comment.

Image courtesy of Glastonburyleftfield on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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