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NUJ offers to call off BBC strike

James Robinson, Tara Conlan and agencies

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11 November 2010 16.32 GMT

A placard on the picket line in last week's BBC strike. Photograph: Ian Nicholson/PA
The National Union of Journalists today offered to call off Monday's 48-hour BBC strike over pension changes, provided disciplinary action against three members is dropped.

Jeremy Dear, the NUJ general secretary, said the strike planned for next Monday and Tuesday will be called off if the BBC drops disciplinary action against three employees, including one who has been sacked. The disciplinary action relates to last week's strike.

The sacked journalist works in Washington for the BBC's Arabic service, while two employees at the corporation's Latin American service have been given written warnings.

The NUJ said the BBC had changed its position on holding more talks about pensions and had now agreed to meet union leaders.

"We are pleased the BBC has changed its position and agreed to talks. We will endeavour to reach a negotiated settlement," said Dear.

NUJ representatives met today and voted overwhelmingly to suspend next week's strikes to allow new talks to be held, provided the disciplinary action is withdrawn.

The NUJ wants the new meeting to be held within the next seven days. The BBC's executive board is due to meet in early December to consider the planned changes to pensions that sparked the dispute.

Today's decision comes after management agreed to meet the NUJ and the other four BBC unions to clarify key elements of its pensions offer – but only if next week's strike action is called off.

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