Following a ballot of members, media and entertainment union Bectu has announced that some staff working in the BBC World Service’s network operations will strike for 30 hours this weekend.
Journalists are not taking industrial action.
Bectu warned that “output is set be hit” by the strike but the BBC has this afternoon issued a statement to say it is “not expecting any disruption to World Service programming”.
The union’s dispute with the BBC centres on the corporation’s refusal to allow around 15 staff to join a final salary pension scheme following their transfer of employment from a private company, Babcock Communications Ltd, to the BBC late last year.
Bectu feels demands should be met because it claims some of the staff involved were allowed to keep a final salary scheme when they transferred to Babcock Communications following the privatisation of World Service Transmission Operations in 1997.
Bectu supervisory official Helen Ryan said in a statement:
This is a classic case of staff pension provision being disrupted by contracting out. When these staff were transferred out of the BBC in 1997, the BBC backed their demands for continuing membership of a final salary scheme.
Now, 15 years on, the BBC wants to wash its hands of its responsibilities to deal with the disruption to pension provision which these staff face.
The BBC has said in a statement:
We are disappointed that Bectu members have opted to take strike action … we have only allowed access to whatever pension scheme was open to new entrants at the time.
It would set an unsustainable precedent to allow people transferring into the BBC to enter pension schemes that are now closed to new members.
The industrial action will take place between 3pm on Sunday (15 April) and 9pm the following day. The staff involved route programmes to transmitters around the world.