Monday, September 13, 2010

BBC Unions Threaten Tory Conference Coverage

I've just seen the news that BBC unions will be going on strike on 5 & 6 October. How totally coincidental that this is during the Conservative Party Conference and that the BBC may not be able to broadcast David Cameron's speech or give it any news coverage. And even more coincidental that the second strike will be on 19 & 20 October, the day of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Who'd have though it, eh?

The strike is all about BBC pensions, which are among the most generous in the public sector. The Deputy Director General, for instance, will get a pension of more than £215,000 a year for life. I suppose if I had that I wouldn't want to give it away either. Clearly not all BBC employees are on this level of pension, but they are pensions most of us in the private sector would never be able to achieve. Ah, we're told, people in the public sector forego large salaries in order to guarantee a better pension. Rot. Virtually everyone I know at the BBC, in whatever department, earns more than their equivalent in commercial TV or radio.

I do hope the BBC management scupper this interference in the democratic process and take a feed from Sky News. I'm sure Rupert Murdoch would appreciate the irony...


Sceptical Steve said...

Surely a bit on own goal for the Left?

The BBC News team would surely have taken the opportunity to provide us with wall to wall condemnation of the Tory Conference and the Spending Review...

Richard Manns said...

It'll be an interesting test case for both sides:

1) Will the BBC be able to shrug off the strike with minimal disruption? Surely this will be important for the Awkward Squad lining up for next year.

2) What will the unions try to do (if anything) through lawyers (or outside of it altogether) to stop this?

JaE said...

The hacks at BBC Wales have effectively censored comments on the political blogs for weeks and weeks ...


... so it is not just the BBC unions that have got too big for their boots, it is rife through the organisation. Time to privatise the business, let the public vote through their wallets rather than the current highway robbery license fee, I wonder if the unions would black out such important political events if it was a subscription service, where their salaries were paid by results ?

Sean Haffey said...


Let's provide more audience for the other channels.

David Miliband Leadership Campaign said...

Indeed, the BBC/Labour Party/Trade Unions seem to have their own agenda.

The left when they lose are like kids who lose a board game and tip the board over to scupper everybody else.

Ean Craigie said...

Iain does this not fall under the banner of who will notice or care, with Sky and ITV to do the coverage the lefties can strike away.

richard.blogger said...

Iain, please stop spinning.

"BBC pensions, which are among the most generous in the public sector"

I have no figures about this, so I thought I would read on.

"The Deputy Director General, for instance..."

It is nonsense to use the DDG as an example, there is just one of him and he is management and so he is imposing the pension cuts!

The strike is not about the DDG's pension, it is about the low paid workers who will have their pensions cut.

Get used to it, in the next year the entire country will grind to a halt when the combination of the cuts in public services and the inevitable recession that it will cause, combined with Middle England realising that the middle classes have been viciously attacked by the Tories will lead to the majority of people saying "I did not vote for this". said...

The BBC must match any disruption to its coverage with similar curtailment of that of the other party conferences. Anything else would be an even grosser violation of its public duty to neutrality than we're normally forced to accept.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

The BBC is just one organisation of many who have been part of an anti-democractic, left-leaning confederacy. There is nothing wrong with them being lefties, but for the fact that they, like their accomplices, are publicly funded. If the current narrative of "Cuts" was replaced with the reality, which is a fight about their plundering the income of the working classes, and if the language of the discourse was won back by the right, middle England might wake up to the reality of the real cost of a bloated public sector, and that is, higher taxes and rises in the basic necessities.

Simon Lewis said...

So people join an organisation. You work for 30-35 years then told there pensions will be cut. Yer, i'd be pretty peeed off about it and I don't blame them. You should talk to some of the police regarding this. They'll be in there arresting this govt if these proposals go through, and i'm talking Tory voting police

Man in a Shed said...

The BBC should just buy in an independent producer and broadcast their output.

Tim Fenton said...

" ... which are among the most generous in the public sector ... "

Real Daily Mail stuff, Iain. You could fit right in there, if only you could handle Paul Dacre's wall to wall swearing and shouting.

Without some numbers, as Richard Blogger has said, it has little tangible meaning.

Also, what effect will any action have on the Beeb's news coverage? I don't know, and suspect you don't either.

Moreover, the strike action is not guaranteed to happen. It may be called off by the union, subject to injunction on behalf of management, or postponed (the latter making the Tory conference coincidence irrelevant).

Whatever happens, it won't get me any nearer watching Sky News (first for breaking wind).

Thorpe said...


You are absolutely correct - the political bias argument is the best one to raise.

Interesting dilemma for the Beeb management. Clearly, it is the unions who set the (potential) strike days, and in this there is probably a rare coincidence in the political sympathies of management and unions.

I think there should be a challenge from the Tory Party to Beeb management (and as the unshaven DG plonker seems to visit Downing Street it shouldn't be too hard to deliver).

"1. Give equal and fair coverage and reports to all Party Conferences, or we will clobber you with a bias charge. If your feckless staff are on strike take a feed from Sky or ITN.

2. If you do not give equal and fair coverage, prepare to lose the licence fee from the first day of the next financial year.

3. If you do not cover the Comprehensive Spending Review, you will also lose the licence fee for failing to cover events of national significance.

Message ends".

Dick the Prick said...

Good, let them strike. Then there'll be loads of analysis about BBC wages, expenses and perks.

Own goal.

Weygand said...

Were it not for the deficit, the defence review, the welfare problem etc etc the BBC would already be feeling the wind of change.

The unions hope a rush to the barricades before the licence fee falls for renewal will give the government pause for thought.

It is more likely to harden hearts the of the public who will more readily support cuts to BBC services, posts and earnings.

Techno Mystic said...

They are behaving as if they are the only people having their pensions reduced. They are not, mine is being reduced too, but I am still forced by law to pay for the BBC. Nobody is forced to pay for the products my employer produces.

As others have said, by timimg the strike for the conference thay are not even bothering to pretend to be impartial anymore, but if they don't cover the Spending Review this may actually backfire on them.

Henry_Tree said...

Exactly as Dr.North predicts: "2 bald men fighting over a comb!" Let the baldiest barsteward win and let the loser go crying to his mammy.

I am now becoming suicidal about the "state" of this country of Kunts. Positively led by a bunch of Kunts And the whole place is filled with virtual Kunts.

Why the hell did I ever live and pay a lifetime's taxes in this alleged "country" when it has descended to this? Gimme my money back and just let me have a great, big, absolutely flaming Viking funeral with the bliddy proceeds.

Where can I buy a gun?

Henry_Tree said...

Excuse me please! Can *ANYONE* including the ownere of this blasted bog give me some klew how to post without having to go through rigamaroles obviously put in place by the last blasted Liebour Government?
How the feck can I simply sign up to some account wot will let me post a simple reply or message?
Even the bliddy Guardian site allowed me to do that until the othere Saturday when they stopped allowing disargreeable answers about TV Licenses
Meantime, how do I click on answer, and *THEN* simple answer by writing a reply and posting it?
As Ian's brand new PERSONAL Asst, as appointed the other week, I thoight I'd have known by now, but I@<M REALLY GETTING PEED OFF!
Thank you.

M said...

The BBC unashamedly became the propaganda mouthpiece of New Labour.

Partly due to this and also the mess the economy is in, justifies the Tories to sell off/close down most of the BBC.

The rump of the BBC that remains should become similar to PBS in the USA.

trevorsden said...

The BBC are full of left wing scumbags.

Who cares about them. The conference will get coverage elsewhere and really so what ... its 5 years to the next election, the only people who worry about the 24 hour news cycle are the people peddling the news.

Of course its not a 24hr news cycle its the same news 4 times an hour. News media invent news if there is none; failing that they pervert it.

BBC Pensions
'dateline 20 June'
"The BBC, the UK's public broadcaster, is set to close its generous defined-benefit pension scheme to new joiners, as the pensions cuts that have already swept through the country's private sector begin to toll on state employees in the wake of the financial crisis."

-- Note to the ill informed - it says to 'new members'.---
"BBC chief financial officer Zarin Patel said the changes would save the organisation "about a third" of its annual pension contributions. Last year, the broadcaster paid £222m (€274m) into the fund."

"the BBC's trustees said they expect the full 2010 valuation of the fund to show "a sizeable deficit". This is due to rising expectations of future life expectancy, and the fact that investment returns are expected to be lower than they have been in the past."

So for the thick headed let me repeat -- 'generous'; say, just in case you missed it - 'GENEROUS'

Oh and there is another word in there I really really hate to remind stupid lefties of -- here goes --- 'DEFICIT'.

Explain please, you thickos, to the BBC just where they get the money from.
Go on I'm interested ...

Matt said...

I agree wit David Bean. Union activists must be told: "Unless you agree to work as normal on those dates, we will cancel all coverage of party conferences and all outside broadcasts of any kind will be subject to a strict review to see if they are absolutely necessary."

Then see what they do.

wv = unicon. How very apt!

anne riddle said...

Does it really matter? Sky news will cover Conference and Spending review much better than the BBC with their Left leaning slant. Stuff 'em!!

Fausty said...

The unions are almost certain to stray into illegality in some way. I hope the coalition's lawyers are ready to catch them when they do.

These strikes will provide the perfect opportunity for the coalition to purge left-wing bias from the BBC.

Will it make use of this opportunity? I doubt it.

M. Hristov said...

The BBC gives a great service but it needs to come into the modern world. Gold plated pensions are a thing of the past.

I would have more sympathy with the Beeb if they had criticised New Labour for their anti-strike activities.

Solicitors undertaking legal aid work have faced actual cuts. Not to pensions (there is no public pension provision for such people) but to real income. Solicitors threatened to strike but their leadership was told it was against the law for individual solicitors to combine to do so and any such strike would lead to a referral to the Office of Fair Trading and a huge fine. The leadership of the profession, many of them Labour apparatchiks, accepted this.

Stef said...

Surely we should be happy that we can get coverage of the Conservative Conference and the Spending Review without the usual BBC bias - some people might just appreciate some balanced coverage for once!

Bardirect said...

If the Conservative conference is indeed affected how could the BBC justify covering the later LibDem and Labour conferences? Looks like a good opportunity to save on the frivolous outside broadcast costs of covering all 3.

Any idea what will be on instead? "Open All Hours?" the BBC's comedic take on private enterprise?

Anoneumouse said...

BBC pensions funded by the global warming scam.

Patrick said...

great news.

the conference will be uninterrupted and all day long on TV.

Chalcedon said...

So BBC personnel aren't left wing biased then? LOL. I prefer SKY News anyway. A good idea for the BBC to take a Sky feed.

Steve H said...

***The Deputy Director General, for instance, will get a pension of more than £215,000 a year for life. I suppose if I had that I wouldn't want to give it away either. Clearly not all BBC employees are on this level of pension…***

So why did you quote it? As it's more likely to be technical staff going on strike than Deputy Director Generals, why not quote the average pension of a BBC electrician? Well, we know the answer to that. Wouldn't generate the same outrage, would it?

It’s like those who try to paint the entire public sector as millions of diversity outreach managers. Your blog is replacing serious comment with skewed comment more and more since the election. Have you concluded that you’ll never get a seat unless you pander to the Daily Mail vote? You do know that, for obvious reasons, however much you suck up to them, the Daily Mail crowd will never really accept you, don’t you? Your blogged opinion on the average subject these days is becoming about as reliable as Kevin Maguire’s.

***Virtually everyone I know at the BBC, in whatever department, earns more than their equivalent in commercial TV or radio.***

“In whatever department”? I’d be willing to bet that 90% of your pals at the BBC are all on the presenting or management side.

Iain Dale said...

Steve, well that just shows how much you know, doesn't it? I know many people at both the BBC and in commercial TV and radio who work at the bottom end of production and in all the cases I know, the salaries are higher at the BBC.

As for pandering to the Daily Mail, utter guff. In case you missed it, I have said I will not be seeking a seat ever again, so your argument rather falls at the first hurdle doesn't it?

if yu don't like what I write why not attempt to find a blog you can agree with 100% of the time. On second thoughts, that wouldn't afford you the opportunity to write the very kind of illinformed garbage that you accuse me of writing, would it?!

Martin said...

Simon Lewis said...

So people join an organisation. You work for 30-35 years then told there pensions will be cut.

Yes Simon, it happens in the private sector all the time.

Martin said...

AS pointed out on the biased BBC website, when it was the Liebour conference Tories were not allowed on the BBC to comment. But when it was the Tory conference the BBC wheeled out endless Liebour muppets.

Simply scrap the TV tax and go over to a scrambled BBC signal and if you don't pay you don't watch. Sky manage it, let the BBC do the same.

Tim Fenton said...

Iain, finding a blog (or any other information source) that you agree with 100% would be a pointless exercise. That, surely, is not why you'd read a particular blog?

[I know, don't call me Shirley]

I don't read your blog expecting to agree with you even half the time. But I do expect to get different angles on stories and insights that other commentators miss.

Getting back to the Beeb, is that organisation "Public Sector" in the way that an agency of central or local Government is? Remember Jeremy Hunt making his "like the rest of Government" remark and then having a re-think?

I'm off to do some research.

Steve H said...

Iain, if you're not seeking a seat again then I apologise. Apologise for not realising that I had it arse about face and that you'd been putting on the voice of reason facade in the hope of getting a seat but now feel free to rip away the mask and show that all this time, under the guise of mild-mannered janitor Iain Dale, has been lurking Sylvester Sneakley. The Hooded Claw himself.

Your attempt at a magisterial rebuke (which amounted to "so ner") might have worked had you not sidestepped my first question. Were you not being duplicitous in quoting only the highest pension in the BBC in a piece suggesting that all the BBC proles (the ones who would be striking) don't know they're born?

Imagine you'd come across someone writing an article defending senior BBC managers' pay which quoted a make-up girl's pension as evidence that the men at the top weren't overpaid. Would you not pounce on that in your own blog and point out the twisting of facts? You know you would.

As for my going away and never coming back if I object to some of the raving from the padded cell you've been writing of late, I'm sure that an absence of criticism would be much more flattering to your ego in your headlong rush to out-Guido Guido. Not going to happen, I'm afraid. I've spent ages defending your point of view on this blog against the Mailitant Tendency among your readership. In return, I get to bitch about you when the boot's on the other foot.