Entertainment & Arts

Reaction to BBC strike suspension

Less than a week before union members at the BBC were planning to walk out due to an ongoing dispute over pension cuts, the strike has been suspended.

The National Union of Journalists said the corporation had made an improved offer and it would consult with members about what the next step would be.

Here is reaction from all relevant parties involved in the matter.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ

Given the outrage the BBC's pensions proposals have caused, which staff have consistently viewed as a pensions robbery, we're obviously pleased that the BBC have seen fit to table an improved offer, rather than face strike action.

Clearly, the determination of staff at the BBC to fight to defend their pensions has forced a rethink on the part of the BBC's management.

Though we still have a number of reservations about the new offer, we remain committed to clarifying the BBC's proposals through negotiation over the next couple of weeks and are hopeful that an acceptable offer, protecting benefits already accrued and not limiting future pensions accrual through the imposition of a punitive cap, can be agreed.

Peter Skyte, national officer at Unite

The BBC has made some attempt to bridge the gap between us in order to resolve this dispute.

Members are looking for the BBC to stand as a beacon of excellence in pay and pensions as much as it does in broadcasting, and not join a race to the bottom by irresponsible employers in shedding all risk and drastically shrinking incomes in retirement. Our members will now be asked whether the BBC offer meets this test.

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of Bectu

We have had a significantly improved offer from the BBC which we believe is the best that can be achieved through negotiation.

If it is accepted, all the action will be called off, but if it is rejected, strikes will take place.

We welcome the movement from the BBC. The union side has worked very hard over three long months to arrive at this point.

We believe that the current proposals are certainly the best that can be achieved without industrial action and on this basis we will be consulting our members further.

We have secured these improvements because of the willingness of all union members to make a stand against attacks on pensions; staff should be proud of their resolve.

Mark Thompson, BBC director general

I welcome this decision. We have listened carefully to you throughout our consultation on pension reform and have adjusted our proposals as a result.

It is only right that union members and staff should have the opportunity to consider these amended proposals carefully before being asked to take industrial action.

These adjustments should be taken as a final position from the BBC in our discussions with the unions about pension reform. They represent a fair way forward.

They still deliver the overwhelming majority of the financial effect we knew we needed to achieve in dealing with the deficit and containing future pension costs and risks, so that we could continue to offer affordable pensions.

But I believe that they are also reasonable and equitable from the point of view of staff. They are offered, and should be considered as a package.

We cannot and will not make any adjustments to them which would involve further cost or any loss of future affordability

Don Foster, co-chairman of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport

I welcome the further concessions made by the BBC and the decision of the union not to strike.

It is absolutely vital that the BBC demonstrates complete political impartiality by covering all the major party conferences.

We can now be hopeful that both sides will build on this development and come to a long-term agreement.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites