The 43rd deed of variation

Several people have texted me with news of this excellent Telegraph article a few days ago. It points out that in the 43rd deed of variation ‘“pensionable salary” is defined as “a Member’s or Life Assurance Member’s Basic Salary from the Employer. It includes London weighting and such other regular additions to Basic Salary as the BBC may determine from time to time.’

It goes on to ask why on earth JeremyPeat (chairman of the trustees) hasn’t been more aggressive in fighting to protect members’ interests, given that this is the primary duty of the trustees.

One of the central questions about the BBC’s intentions still remains a mystery: why do they think they can get away with such a blatant assault on pensions when it is so clearly against the pension scheme rules? Clearly they have received advise (no doubt paid for out of the licence fee) that there are some grounds for believing that they can ignore the 43rd deed. And there must be some sort of ambiguity or surely the unions would by now be in court. But I’d love to hear from someone what those grounds are: what entitles the BBC to use our terms of employment as a way to avoid the 43rd deed?

Meanwhile the extraordinary general meeting of the pension fund will be a good occasion to push Jeremy Peat on why he has not been more aggressive in defending pension scheme members.

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