Why the third option is NOT the solution

We’re approaching the critical moment in the struggle to defend our pension rights.
Mark Thompson’s letter makes the management strategy clear. He’s going to offer a 3rd pension option which he will trumpet as meeting the concerns expressed by pension scheme members. No doubt there’ll be some element of indexation of the pension you’ve built up until now, but the final pension will surely not be related to your salary.
The unions have achieved an unprecedented vote for strike action: 89.8% from BECTU and over 90% fom the NUJ.
But unfortunately it seems as if the union leadership have bought into Thompson’s strategy. They see the solution as negotiating the best possible “3rd option”. If so, they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
The task is to defend the existing scheme. Thompson is still far more vulnerable than he makes out. There is no legal need to produce a deficit reduction plan until well into next year, and he knows it. There are viable alternative methods to fund the deficit, but Thompson doesn’t want to discuss them because that would undermine his real objective which is to destroy the existing pension scheme for political advantage.
Unless I’m wrong about the union leadership, come the 16th of Sept (when the details of the 3rd option will be announced) we could find ourselves in the somewhat disheartening position of having to persuade the unions as well as the BBC that the offer is not good enough.
The fight can still be won, but we mustn’t fight on Thompson’s terms. It’s not about a 3rd option, it’s about defending what we’ve got.


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