Bectu, NUJ and Unite members to ballot for action after management ignore them and impose pay deal

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BBC unions say high-handed managers are to blame for provoking a strike ballot that might affect the corporation’s coverage of the Jubilee.

As reported first by UnionNews on Wednesday,  Bectu, NUJ and Unite members are balloting for action over a “derisory” pay award imposed on staff without consultation.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The NUJ does not accept the implementation of this derisory pay award with no attempt at genuine negotiation. It is not just about pay. It is about the BBC’s failure to negotiate on a range of issues affecting our members.

“This includes the failure of the BBC management to properly implement a re-deployment scheme that was agreed in autumn.This has left us with members needlessly facing compulsory redundancy. There are jobs these members could go to, but the BBC is failing to fulfil its part of the bargain.”

Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: “By going over the unions’ heads and increasing our members’ salaries before negations are concluded, the BBC is very helpfully placing a down-payment in our members pockets to help them through the forthcoming Jubilee strike.

“This is an act of poor faith. It adds injury to the insulting pay offer. The BBC had actually asked us to consult members and had scheduled a meeting on pay with us for next week. We had informed them that a direct offer of 1 per cent would be seen as a hostile act by the joint unions. We now have no option but to call a strike ballot at the earliest opportunity.”

Unite regional officer Mike Eatwell said: “In the middle of a pay negotiation management has chosen to terminate collective bargaining and impose a sum. That is not acceptable to Unite which will oppose any withdrawal of our members’ right to bargain on their pay and conditions.”

A joint statement from the NUJ, Bectu and Unite said : “Union members had already voiced frustration at the BBC’s refusal to negotiate on their 2012 pay claim. Only one meeting has been held in which management tabled a ‘final’ offer of 1 per cent, subject to a minimum increase of £400, to officials from BECTU, the NUJ and Unite. The BBC has now written directly to staff stating its intention to implement the pay award from June rather than August.

“The unions’ claim, submitted in January, sought a pay increase of two per cent above RPI, subject to a minimum increase of £1,000. The unions justified the modest claim by highlighting that staff salaries had fallen 8 per cent behind inflation since 2007. In common with the workforce in other parts of the economy, BBC staff are working in straitened times; however the unions believe that the extent of current difficulties has been made worse by senior management’s flawed approach to licence fee negotiations with government which has led to Delivering Quality First, and its threat of 2,000 job losses and cuts to staff terms and conditions.”


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