Thousands of BBC workers are to stage two 48-hour strikes in a row over pensions, it was announced today.
Journalists, technicians and other broadcast staff will walk out on October 5 and 6, when the Conservative Party conference will be held, and again on October 19 and 20, the date of the UK Government’s comprehensive spending review.
The action was announced by Bectu, the National Union of Journalists and Unite even though the BBC offered a new concession in an attempt to avert strikes.
Unions will consult with their members over the next few weeks before meeting on October 1 to decide whether to press ahead with the strikes.
The BBC announced plans to overhaul its defined benefit schemes in June after discovering the deficit had ballooned from £470m (€564m) in 2008 to about £2bn (€2.4bn).
The broadcaster has offered to set up a new career average scheme for workers who belong to its defined benefit pension, who are concerned that the planned changes will reduce the value of their retirement income.
It gave existing members of the scheme the choice of either staying in it but having any salary increases used in pension calculations capped at 1% a year, or leaving the scheme and joining a new defined contribution one.
But members of the National Union of Journalists and the technicians’ union Bectu voted to strike by more than 9-1 in protest at the “punitive” changes the group planned to make to the scheme.