BBC pension plan focus

I have been trying to get my head around the threatened changes to the BBC’s Pension Plan. Understanding pensions takes a lot of concentration, reading and discussing with those that know. Then when we think we’ve figured out how it is going to work for us, the ground shifts and we have to start again. A bit like having to learn a new mobile phone every two years but waaaay more important.

The BBC’s proposals are more like a 6.5 quake that has the potential to set off a tsunami than the tweaking of figures. It shifts the playing field for all, newcomers, middle managers, end of career techs. And by our calculations all will loose out. The feeling is they really don’t want you in their pension scheme.

The BBC Board are doing this at a time when the 50 top executives, including the director-general, are receiving a pension top-up payment of over £1 million this year. The top eleven executives cost £4.8 in total remunerations: Mark Thompson, D.G. £834,000; Mark Byford, Deputy D.G. £485,000; Jana Bennett, Director, Vision, £515,00; Zarin Patel, C.F.O., £429,000; Peter Salmon, Director, BBC North, £430,000. These figures are from the BBC’s website. I could keep going but it gets really depressing.

“Remember too that pensions are described as pay deferred.”

A management that will do anything it can to avoid a cap on executives pensions while saying the 19,000 staff members must shoulder the hard times by having there final salary pension scheme ended for new members and for existing staff their “final salary” calculation can only increase by 1% of whatever salary they are on April 1 2011 (April Fools Day) is cynical and greedy.

Members have asked how this fundamental, the calculation of what their salary is, of a final salary pension scheme can change?

We’ve had legal advice that it can be done because the employer defines what is salary for ‘pensionable calculations’. So when you joined a scheme thinking as you gained in skill and experience and were rewarded with the pay compensating for the work, this would lead to a comfortable retirement you were wrong (unless you make it into that top 50).

Remember too that pensions are described as pay deferred. If this scheme goes ahead your pay will be attacked from two fronts; pay freezes, token increases and less in your pension.

Also interesting is that the plan is proposed to start from the 1st of December 2010. As of May the BBC expected to be hiring over 500 for new jobs in Salford Quays, many from the 1st January 2011, the numbers probably increased by the latest announcement of the Breakfast Show moving to Salford too.

They really are ensuring the new employees or employees with a short time working need have no loyalty to an employer that puts it’s staff at such a disadvantage. We need to recruit so that when we confront management we can do it from a position of strength.

Make sure you vote in the ballot for strike action and that the ballot arrives in head office by the 1st of September. BECTU needs to know your views and to have the power of your vote behind them.

Categories: Broadcasting

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