Union Offers To Call Off Next Week's Strike Against BBC
November 11, 2010 at 11:14 AM (PT)
The NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS has offered to call off its strike planned for MONDAY against the BBC over proposed cuts to pensions if the network drops its planned disciplinary actions against two employees at the WORLD SERVICE's Latin American service and one WASHINGTON-based news employee for the network's Arabic service, the latter of whom was fired.
In a memo to NUJ members working at the BBC, the union's General Secretary JEREMY DEAR and Acting Broadcast Organizer LAURA DAVISON said that the BBC had "changed their position" on further talks in the dispute over pension changes, and as a result "NUJ reps have voted overwhelmingly to suspend strike action planned for MONDAY/TUESDAY in order to allow those talks to take place" if the disciplinary actions are withdrawn, adding, "We have said talks should take place in the next seven days and well in advance of any attempt by the BBC to implement changes to the scheme."
BBC Director General MARK THOMPSON's e-mail to the network staff called the union's action "welcome news" but added that "the BBC has not changed its pension reform package in any way. We cannot afford to revisit the terms of the agreement we reached with the joint unions at the beginning of OCTOBER and will not do so.... we are very willing to give both unions and staff greater clarity about how the pension reform package will work, and we will be able to do so after the staff consultation exercise ends on 15 NOVEMBER."
The BBC was hit with a two-day strike last FRIDAY and SATURDAY in the pension dispute. Some radio and TV programs were canceled and news bulletin content and schedules were altered, but most of the network's output remained normal.