BBC South workers walk out in Pensions dispute, along with Daily Echo staff

Posted on November 5, 2010 by

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Robbers at the BBC

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have walked out and are on strike today and tomorrow over a dispute on BBC pensions, with many BECTU (the UK’s media and entertainment trade union) members refusing to cross the picket line at the BBC South building.

According to witnesses the Southampton picket was ‘solid’ this morning with reports of en masse refusals of Bectu members (including camera operators, satellite truck engineers and video editors) to cross the picket lines.  Nationwide, the strikes have shut down many BBC services such as local TV services, Radio stations and 95% of world service newsroom staff walking out.

The NUJ have said that:

Journalists across the BBC walked out at midnight in the first of two 48 hours strikes in protest at plans to devalue their pensions.

NUJ members at the BBC started taking part in strike action at 12.01am on Friday 5 November 2010 for the next 48 hours to stop the BBC Pensions Robbery.

NUJ members have been working and paying into a pension scheme, the BBC have proposed ripping up the current pension arrangements and replacing them with a pension scheme that will see staff paying more in contributions and working longer and getting less in retirement.

As a result, NUJ members have been left with no choice but to strike to defend their financial futures.

We’ve already been overwhelmed by the support for the campaign so far from staff at the BBC and not just NUJ members. Colleagues in Bectu have inundated us with messages of support, with many refusing to cross picket lines to get into work. It’s clear that staff right across the BBC are keen for us to win – as it would mean a better pensions deal for all.

The BBC strike comes soon after union members at Newsquest, the owner of the Daily Echo and the Hampshire Chronicle, have voted to also strike over a continuing pay freeze.  Management have described it as necessary in this financial climate; despite still making a profit this year, and with senior managers receiving pay rises of over 20%.  Daily Echo and other Newsquest staff will be on strike on Tuesday 9-10 November and again on Tuesday 16-17 November 2010, and they have invited messages of support to be sent to dailyechochapel@yahoo.co.uk.

UPDATE:

Around 75% of the Daily Echo’s staff walked out of their Redbridge HQ in the first round of their strikes, with 40 NUJ members manning a picket outside.  NUJ Chapel secretary Sally Churchward said that they had been “had been “flooded with messages of support from all around the country… Any serious offer from management – even a partial reinstatement of loyalty payments would have been enough to avert a strike.  We just wanted something, but were offered absolutely nothing.”

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Posted in: News, Southampton