The BBC on strike!

By Rebeca Calvo-Gaspar.

Picket outside BBC Offices in Edinburgh

BBC employees are staging a 48 hour strike, which began at midnight last night, in protest of changes in their pension policy.

Flagship programmes such as Reporting Scotland will not go on air today. The Office of Programmes and Services Enquiries at BBC Scotland in Glasgow says: “Most news programmes will be affected by the strike,  any involving major journalism”. An updated TV schedule has been uploaded to the BBC website, but updated information regarding BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Scotland is expected to be limited.

The strike was called upon by the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) which is the only union that still thinks the agreement is unfair. “We do not want to get more, we are just trying to keep what is ours” says a source from the Press Office at NUJ Scotland in Glasgow. “Our colleagues in London are dealing with the negotiations but if we did not get what is fair there will be another 48 hour strike on the 15th and the 16th of November”.

Pickets around Glasgow and Edinburgh BBC offices were seen this morning, however both offices affirm the protesters did not cause any trouble.

The problem between unions and the broadcasting corporation started last June when the BBC announced its plan to overhaul its pension scheme in an attempt to tackle a £2bn deficit. The corporation was following the government instructions of reviewing public sector pensions. After broadcasting union Bectu condemned the proposal these were subjected to a three months consultation period. Under the first proposed changes an employee’s pensionable salary would raise by no more than 1% a year.

During the following negotiations a rise of 2.5% per year were offered, however, the unions still saw that figures as unfair and asked for new revisions. The latest offer of a 4% per year increase has been seen by Bectu as “the best that can be achieved through negotiation”.