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'No more money' in BBC pensions row

The BBC has made it clear that there is no more money on the table to resolve a bitter row over pensions despite a new offer from journalists aimed at averting fresh strikes.

TV and radio programmes were disrupted on Friday and Saturday because of a 48-hour walkout by thousands of members of the National Union of Journalists, with another 48-hour stoppage planned to start a week on Monday.

The union has also raised the threat of disruption to programmes over Christmas and the New Year unless there is a breakthrough in the row over changes to the BBC's pensions.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear on Monday offered to suspend industrial action if BBC management agreed to negotiate a deal once the state of the pension fund deficit was properly assessed next year.

The BBC has made changes to pensions on the basis that the deficit was at least £1.5 billion, but unions believe it could be much lower than this.

Mr Dear said: "Next year we will all finally know what the actual deficit is - rather than an inflated guesstimate."

But Lucy Adams, head of BBC People, said the corporation had reached a deal with all the other unions representing staff on the pension changes.

"We have a deal with the majority of staff. We have said there is no more money on the table. I would not break faith with the other unions by doing a separate deal with the NUJ."

Interviewer Sarah Montague pointed out to Ms Adams that 10 of the most highly paid human resources directors in the country worked at the BBC, highlighting anger over executive pay at the corporation.

Ms Adams said the BBC had to offer salaries to attract staff, adding that senior managers were also affected by the pension changes.


From Belfast Telegraph