Thursday, September 16, 2010

If it's war, we didn't start it...

There I was, 6.30am, heading to the BBC studios in Manchester to do an interview when i popped in to a newsagent to grab some juice. BBC UNIONS' WAR ON TORIES screamed the front page of the Daily Mail.

Apparently, the decision of BBC workers to strike over the Corporation's pensions robbery, is a declaration of war on one part of the Government.

Press Gazette have helpfully run my entire speech to the TUC Conference later that day in response.

The planned strike dates - 5 and 6 October and 19 and 20 October have received widespread coverage and there is a clear attempt in some of the more hostile sections of the media to blame the victims of the BBC's pensions robbery rather than the thieves.

93.4% of NUJ members voted for strike action. More than 90% of members of the 3 unions - NUJ, Bectu and Unite - did so. There is a clear mandate for action - and there is a determination to protect pensions. Many people have saved for years in the expectation that they would receive £x on retirement. It was a promise. Now that promise is being broken.

The BBC took a partial contributions holiday over 13 years - put that money back in. Cap pensions so no-one walks away with a six-figure annual pension. Use a small portion of the profits from BBC Worldwide each year. Some or all of these can help to ensure the pension scheme is sustainable over the long term.

No-one wants to stop coverage of the Comprehensive Spending Review. No-one (well, most) don't want to go on strike. But they will to stop the unacceptable, unfair and unnecessary pension changes.

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