Archive for July, 2011

Pay rise conditions

July 13, 2011

My last post was a little optimistic. I’d forgotten the little detail of the conditions that the BBC is imposing with its pay rise this year. Everyone in a defined benefit pension scheme who is eligible for a pay rise (ie those earning below £60K) will be sent a letter requiring them to accept that their pensionable pay will not rise more than 1% per annum, regardless of their salary. Remember, this was the way that the BBC bypassed the pension scheme trustees, by making the changes to our pensions through our contracts rather than through changes to the rules of the scheme. These “blackmail” letters are highly questionable legally, and the NUJ is investigating whether they can be challenged.

There is also still a chance that there will be a legal challenge to the BBC’s plans. In these circumstances the NUJ is recommending that people accept the new pay deal, but send the BBC a note that basically states that you reserve your position on the 1% cap, subject to legal developments. (If you don’t reply at all, the BBC will deem that you have accepted the pay offer, with strings attached.) If you’re in the NUJ I suggest you contact your NUJ rep as soon as possible to get the full details of the letter. I’ll try and post a sample letter here soon.

If you accept the 1% cap without qualification, then even if there is a successful retrospective challenge to the legality of the BBC’s changes, it is likely that you will be excluded from any improved deal.

Even with all this activity, you still do not have to choose whether to stay in the existing scheme, or opt for one of the two new schemes until the end of the year.



More developments

July 6, 2011

Well, it looks like things are warming up again. I understand that the legality of the BBC’s pension proposals is going to be challenged in court. Not sure of the details yet, so I’ll update more as soon as more information becomes available. Announcements are expected in the next couple of weeks.

This reinforces the view I took in my previous post: there is no need to rush into a decision about which pension option to choose. The decision doesn’t have to be made until the end of the year. Best to wait and see what transpires…