Activists swap unions to join BBC pensions strike

Four leading BECTU activists at the BBC have quit the general broadcasting union and applied to join the National Union of Journalists – so they can take part in this week’s strike over pensions.


The four – until today members of the BECTU audio and music branch committee – explained their decision to colleagues across the corporation in a 1,500 word email.


David Gallagher, who was joint branch secretary, Joti Brar, Tim Clarke, and Ben Toone have jumped ship because BECTU – the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematgrahp, and Theatre, Union – are not taking part in the pensions strike after members voted to accept the deal.


Their email says: “The pensions issue is the most shocking and unreasonable assault ever made by BBC management on their staff.”


Because: “The current proposals mean a huge and unacceptable cut to the pensions of existing scheme members, and the imposition of inadequate stock market-dependent pensions for all future staff.”


The message to BECTU members says: “The BECTU leadership have effectively thrown in the towel and seem happy to let BBC management get away with their heist.”
It goes on: “Without explictly campaigning for members to vote ‘yes’, they did everything in their power to push members in that direction.”


The four say: “The Bridlington agreement (by which trade unions agree not to poach each others’ members) means we can’t encourage you to leave one union and join another. But we can at least explain the reasons why we’re doing so.”


The former BECTU committee members have invited their colleagues to attend “drop-in advice sessions” this week at two London BBC buildings – Bush House and Henry Wood House.


They apologise to any BECTU members who feel let down by their decision but say: “The anti-trade union laws make it very hard for BECTU members to support striking NUJ members. The only way we can make a real difference is by joining the NUJ and taking full part in their industrial action. “


Both unions agreed to ballot members on the latest BBC pension proposals without a recommendation.


But – as first reported on The Workers United – leading NUJ members supported a rank-and-file campaign for a no vote.


The NUJ strike is on Friday and Saturday.

From Workers United, a Red pepper blog


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