Wednesday, October 13 2010,
BroadcastingThe National Union Of Journalists has warned that anger over the "massive pay off" to outgoing deputy director general Mark Byford could trigger a "winter of growing discontent" at the BBC.
Voting begins tomorrow on the BBC's latest proposals for its final salary pension scheme, after management recently made concessions to offset the threat of strike action.
However, NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear predicted that members would turn down the proposals, making strike action "inevitable" unless the corporation revisits its latest offer.
Yesterday, the BBC confirmed that Byford is to leave the BBC in summer 2011 after 32 years of service. It is expected that he will receive a pay off in excess of £500,000.
Dear said that Byford's redundancy payment, in addition to the rumoured 25% budget cut at BBC World Service and other cuts caused by the freeze to the licence fee, would lead to "more disputes, strikes and a growing sense of discontent".
"The BBC's latest pension proposals are the result of months of tough negotiations but the fact is they remain unfair and unacceptable to a majority of staff. Thousands of staff are expected to pay more for less and to work longer for the privilege," said Dear.
"With the prospect of pensions being devalued by tens of thousands of pounds it is little wonder that the overwhelming mood at meetings is to reject and to campaign for a fairer pensions deal.
"Add to that anger the massive pay off Mark Byford has been given, the threat of job cuts and service closures at the World Service and the inevitable consequence that as a result of the funding freeze fewer staff will be expected to cut more corners to deliver BBC services and there is a real prospect of a winter of growing discontent."
Ballot papers on the pension proposals will be issued to 10,000 NUJ members tomorrow, with the consultation due to close on October 28.
Strikes scheduled for October 19 and October 20 to disrupt the BBC's coverage of the government's spending review have been called off by the unions so the ballot can take place.
However, a 24-hour walk-out will go ahead on October 22, and the unions will inform the BBC of a "series of additional strike dates" should a 'no' vote result from the ballot
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