Sunday, November 07, 2010

Pensions, programmes, Paul Mason and public services

It is great that normal service has been resumed at the BBC. But the NUJ’s strike may be a foretaste of pensions disputes to come.

I was surprised to read Paul Mason – the Economics Editor on Newsnight – quoted in The Guardian suggesting a solution to the pension dispute would be for the BBC to sell assets, securitise them (as some local authorities are doing), or spend less on programmes. While asset disposal and securitization may be appropriate, I doubt the idea of spending less on programmes will be popular – will that be making staff redundant or opting for cardboard Crossroads-style sets?

I am sure that some people will be posing the issue of public sector pensions in terms of pensions versus pupils, pensions versus patients, etc but I was strange for a union activist to suggest that a trade-off should resolved at the expense of public services.

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