BBC workers have delivered a stunning vote for strikes in defence of their pensions. Members of the NUJ, Bectu, Unite, Musicians and Equity unions voted by more than 90 percent to take action.
Bosses’ plans mean workers’ pensions will not increase in line with their salaries. Instead they will get a fixed 1 percent yearly increase, so that each year pensions are likely to be eroded by below inflation “increases”.
Management also plans to close the final salary pension schemes for new starters.
Millions of other people across Britain face similar attacks on their pensions. A fight at the BBC will give heart to all of them.
The vote shows the level of anger at the BBC, which the unions must use.
The BBC has said that it will hold talks with the unions and make alternative proposals next week. A union reps’ meeting will then discuss whether this is acceptable, and if not strike dates will be set.
“The vote was a massive result,” Pete Murray, NUJ president and a shop steward at the BBC, told Socialist Worker. “The size of the vote has focused people’s minds. It’s obvious that the BBC is frightened and surprised by the scale of the response.
“The ballot also saw a massive turnout—over 60 percent for the NUJ—which in the summer holidays, and with a postal vote, is huge.
“It’s important that the unions don’t squander this opportunity, and that we secure all that we can.
“The unions must put the case that final salary schemes are affordable—the BBC knows this too. If we don’t get an acceptable offer, then we should strike.”
Any strike would severely hit the BBC’s coverage of many prestigious events.