What final salary?
Okie, one by one:
* Most BT workers (99.99% say) in common with all private sector employees have the usual lump sum to live from, with the lump size largely dictated by the market, and this has been the case since the mid-nineties. All workers are working hard to scrape a pension of their own while also working hard to help filing in a pension hole/crisis that they had no say in.
* Granted no company is compelled by law to keep their pension pots in sane order (presumably as this is foolishly taken as a common sense given), but as was the common practice the pension pot became a nice little stash of cash to dip in to for dividends in lean years and for growing the companies assets. Too many companies dipped too often and BT is admirable attempting to make up for greed and shortsightedness of previous boards by honoring their promises and not sending 100,000s of pensioners in to poverty, i.e., on to the state pension.
* What is a job for life these days? Working hard and making yourself indispensable will help a lot (as will dirt on the boss), but times change and only a fool believes that their boss or their role will be there for anything more than 10 years (less when technology is involved).
* This major recession (which could have been "the Greatest Depression" had public money not been pumped in like there was a war on) was caused by a lot of ridiculously paid idiots in the city and their bosses. The idiots are still being ridiculously rewarded, but only so long as everyone else works their ass off to plug the huge hole in public finances that kept financiers afloat and banks open without any nataionalisation nor any money returned... still mustn't grumble... :^(
* Only the lucky or foolish jump jobs in a recession, but if we are out of recession there really should be no need to move job as you should sensible expect pay to increase at a reasonable rate, i.e., approaching inflation not half the rate.
To be honest the strike action seems more based on (as overs have written here) previous years of poor employee relations, so hopefully BT will be able to sort out something that builds bridges, something that couldn't happen without a union to represent the considerably large BT workforce.