Unions say they have secured significant concessions over measures to redeploy staff rather than force redundancies, as well as improve protection for casual workers

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The threat of a strike by BBC staff over the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations has been lifted following talks with BECTU and the NUJ.

The BBC has refused to improve on the pay increase of 1% which it had threatened to impose last month.

However, unions say they have secured significant concessions from the broadcaster over measures to redeploy staff, rather than make them redundant, as well as improving protection for casual staff.

They say they have also secured a guarantee that management will not attempt to introduce cuts to anti-social hours allowances for new staff and will not introduce regional pay bargaining outside London.

Unions say staff salaries have fallen 8% behind inflation since 2007.

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, said: “There is absolutely no question that the BBC’s handling of this year’s pay talks will continue to anger staff and what is more, our members, not least in London, will suffer financially.

“However, from the soundings we have taken, viewed nationally, pay was not the primary concern and in light of this we doubted the success of strike action over the Jubilee weekend.”

“Putting basic pay to one side for the moment, we believe that this week’s agreement with the BBC, incorporating as it does valuable concessions, not only on collective bargaining but on key allowances, appraisals and on redeployment, represents vital protections for staff which will resonate with members across the country.”

The BBC has agreed that – despite the financial constrains of the frozen TV license fee – future pay negotiations will ‘go some way’ towards addressing the real-terms fall in salaries of BBC workers against the cost of living.

During detailed talks, the BBC agreed to introduce an internal database for all staff under threat of redundancy, where employees can post their CV and notes of any work for which they think they might be suitable.

Managers must now look in that database first for suitably qualified candidates prior to posting any internal job adverts and will be required to give the unions reasons why they did not pick someone from the database for a job.

Union reps will also have the right to appeal any refusals.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “We are now making constructive and positive progress with trying to find proper and long term solutions.

“The immediate risk of redundancies at TV Current Affairs and the World Service have been averted.

“This has only been achieved because NUJ members have stood solidly together in opposition to compulsory redundancies.

“We have been deeply concerned by the failure of the redeployment process so the settlement today addresses the problem which we welcome. The BBC’s stance on pay is disappointing, but the package of concessions on other pay-related issues and appraisals addresses key concerns for journalists across the BBC.”  


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