UK - Labour unions have called off two one-day strikes at television news broadcaster ITN after their members voted overwhelmingly to accept the station's revised pension fund proposals.

At the unions' suggestion the agreed proposal included an increase in staff contributions to 8% from 6%. In return, the retirement age will increase to 63 from 60, rather than 65 as first offered. The scheme will cap payment increases at 5%, up from an original 2.5%, and the accrual rate will be harmonised at the 60th part of a final salary for all members.

ITN had billed its original proposals, released in November, as a final offer. In addition to reducing the employer's contribution, these included reducing the accrual rate and capping annual pay out increases.

Broadcasting union BECTU said 90% of its members had voted to accept the revised proposals, which it described as "a significant improvement".

ITN spokeswoman Louise Evans said the broadcaster was "pleased with the outcome because it maintains the viability of the scheme".

Next week a poll of non-union employees will decide whether the proposals have full employee backing. "I'd be surprised if there were a huge difference in the vote," said Evans. "We're hopeful that we'll reach agreement."

Only 11.3% of ITN employees are members of BECTU and the National Union of Journalists, which had jointly threatened the strikes. The pension schemes covers around 50% of ITN employees.