Ipswich: Journalists join pensions strike

JOURNALISTS from Radio Suffolk joined their colleagues from across the BBC in a 48-hour strike which began today.

They are taking action against the BBC’s proposals to change its pension scheme which, they claim, could cost them tens of thousands of pounds at the end of their careers.

The National Union of Journalists called the strike after its members rejected proposals by the corporation to change the rules of the pension scheme in an attempt to cut its deficit.

Members of the National Union of Journalists began their 48-hour stoppage at midnight, immediately mounting picket lines across the country, including Bush House, Broadcasting House and TV Centre in London.

Pickets were out at Radio Suffolk’s headquarters in Ipswich during today’s flagship breakfast programme.

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The union is planning another 48-hour strike on November 15 and 16, with threats of further disruption over Christmas.

Andrew Woodger, joint Father of the Chapel (workplace representative) at Radio Suffolk, said: “This is a national dispute, we have no arguments with the local management.

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“But there is a great deal of concern about the pension issue. The changes that are proposed are being rushed through before the corporation knows what the full situation is.

“There is a great deal of concern among our members here. We have had three new members join here in Suffolk because of their concerns about this issue.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed that the NUJ have gone ahead with today’s industrial action.

“This is despite the other four unions accepting our revised offer, and feedback from staff that indicates the same.

“It is the public who lose out and we apologise to our audience for any disruption to services.’’

BBC director general Mark Thompson said: “We believe that much of the output of the BBC will be unaffected by this action. However, it is inevitable that some programmes and content will be disrupted.

“We believe the current pension proposals are realistic and affordable, and will provide fair pension provision for BBC staff for the future.”

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