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BBC unions threaten to carry out coordinated strikes

Unions put deadline on settlement of fight over BBC pension plan changes.

Unions representing thousands of BBC staff, including journalists, technicians and musicians, have threatened to carry out coordinated strikes if the row over pensions is not settled by Wednesday.

The unions are expecting a guarantee from the corporation by Wednesday that it would protect the value of their pensions already accumulated. They also want the BBC to withdraw its plans to force through "punitive" changes to the staff pension scheme.

The strike threats come after the BBC announced its plans to cap pensionable pay at one per cent from April 2011 and revalue pensions at a lower level.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bectu, Unite, Equity and the Musicians Union called on the BBC, asking it to make changes to the proposed pension cuts.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said they are committed to find a viable solution to the BBC's pensions shortfall, but not at the expense of the value of pensions already earned.

A BBC spokesman said that the corporation's proposals are subject to a three-month consultation period, and the unions' concerns would be addressed during that period.