Belfast Telegraph

BBC staff to vote on pension dispute

By Alan Jones

Thousands of BBC staff are to be balloted for industrial action in a row over pensions, unions announced.

The corporation - which employs around 700 in Northern Ireland - had been given until yesterday to withdraw plans for a 1% cap on pensionable pay, irrespective of future pay rises, or face the threat of strikes in September.

Sue Harris, of the National Union of Journalists, said: "BBC management have shown complete contempt for staff in the face of the clear message from staff attending the series of consultative meetings that have taken place over the past two weeks.

"Those meetings have seen repeated votes - unanimous in almost all cases - calling on the staff unions to ballot for industrial action should the BBC continue to pursue its plans for a blatant pensions robbery.

"Staff across the country are already incensed at the proposals and will be even more furious now, particularly given the revelation this week that BBC deputy director-general Mark Byford trousers a staggering £400,000 a year in pension payments.

"It's hypocrisy, pure and simple."

NUJ deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "We're obviously disappointed, but not entirely surprised, that the BBC is taking such a hard line over this issue.

"Without question, the Government is paying extremely close attention to this dispute."