Pay rise conditions

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.



3 Responses to “Pay rise conditions”

  1. Fiona Blair Says:

    A legal challenge depends on the trustees willingness to make one. There is a seat coming up on the board of trustees. Are you aware of this and have you considered standing? The deadline for nominations has not passed. Traditionally the seat would go to a BECTU rep but I expect that NUJ votes are up for grabs this time around and that there will not be many standing.

  2. renouj21 Says:

    Fiona, It is very kind of you to suggest this, and I have given the idea considerable thought. However, no matter how hard I try, I can’t find a way to make it work with my day job. I simply don’t have the time. It’s a shame, standing as a trustee would in many ways have been a logical extension of this blog, but I have to be realistic.

  3. Oneyedbloke Says:

    Well, I’m not an NUJ member but have just sent off my reply to BBC HR, using the NUJ-suggested phrases in their example letter. Effectively, I’ve just staked 2% of my salary on the hope that the NUJ have better – or more successful – lawyers than BECTU’s, who have advised that the BBC’s actions are legal. I’m really annoyed that the BBC have chosen to implement the changed pension arrangements in this high-handed way, basically “Object within 7 days or you’re bound by this.” I can only speculate that the BBC’s lawyers – or whoever is advising them – have recommended that they do it this way in order to forestall the possibility of the NUJ getting a court ruling against the BBC. They’ll be able to say, it doesn’t matter, 90% of the staff have explicitly accepted our terms, on an individual basis. I dunno; I’m no legal expert. But the trust has gone. Gone a good while back.

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