UK - The BBC has proposed a new career average arrangement as part of its pensions reform but is sticking with the controversial 1% annual cap for the existing final salary scheme.
The broadcasting giant has put forward a career average benefits scheme as a third option on top of the highly contentious decision to cap future pensionable pay at 1%, or for members to transfer to a new defined contribution scheme.
In an email to staff this morning, BBC director general Mark Thompson (pictured) said: "In the light of these concerns, we've decided to keep the existing two proposed choices on the table but to add a new third option for current members, a new career average benefits option which we've called CAB 2011."
Trustees of the BBC Pension Scheme have estimated the scheme's deficit at nearly £2bn ($3.1bn).
Thompson said members joining CAB 2011 would have to leave the existing defined benefit section in the BBC Pension Scheme becoming a deferred member - pensionable pay accrued up to that point would rise broadly in line with inflation.
Benefits would build up year by year for their remaining time at the BBC and be based on average pay from the time they joined CAB 2011 to the time they left the BBC.
Thompson said: "There would be no cap on how far this average could grow if your salary grew over the period either because of annual or other pay rises or because of promotion."
The BBC is proposing the new scheme has a pensionable age of 65 and for pensions to accrue at the same rate as the current CAB scheme - 1.67% of salary per year (1/60th) and pensions in payment increase by the lower of consumer price inflation and 2.5%.
It said to be affordable, member contributions to CAB 2011 will have to be higher than for the current career average scheme of 4% of salary - for CAB 2011 it is proposing 7% of salary.
Thompson added: "It is not a panacea, but in the terms I've set out above it is affordable, and I believe it goes a significant way to addressing the concerns you've expressed to us during the consultation."
The BBC was meeting with union representatives this morning to discuss the proposals. Trade unions the National Union of Journalists and Bectu were not available for comment at the time of writing.
The NUJ, Bectu and Unite, have accused the BBC of "pensions robbery" over the changes. On 2 September more than 90% of their members supported calls both for strike action and for action short of strike.
The BBC said there will be an additional consultation period which will run from 16 September until mid-November.
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