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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
BBC strike threat over pensions
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Strike action could affect UK sports coverage including Wimbledon
BBC staff will be balloted for strike action unless the corporation changes its mind over pension reforms, union leaders have warned.

Last week, the BBC announced proposals to close the final salary pension scheme to new employees.

It also wants to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 and increase staff contributions to pensions.

Strike action could start in June, possibly affecting UK sports coverage including Wimbledon and Royal Ascot.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said the changes were essential for the scheme to remain "secure and affordable" for its 20,000 members.

'Surplus'

But leaders of Bectu, the National Union of Journalists and Amicus agreed the final salary pension scheme should remain open to all staff.

They also want employees to be allowed to draw pensions from the age of 60 without being disadvantaged.

"The pension scheme has a surplus, but the BBC is choosing to close it, reduce the benefits and expect staff to pay more for them," said Gerry Morrissey, assistant general secretary of Bectu.

"Failure to agree to all of these demands will lead to an immediate ballot for strike action."

The BBC's plans follow other major employers who have recently cut back on their pension provision, including the Co-op, Arcadia, Provident Financial and Rentokil.


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