the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

6 October 2011

BECTU officials working with the BBC membership have been fully focussed today (6 October) on the BBC's Delivering Quality First announcement. The proposals put 2000 jobs at risk and, far from delivering quality, BECTU believes the plan threatens ultimately to destroy the BBC.

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary, spent the day (6 October) in briefings and media interviews and led the first consultation meeting with BBC management on behalf of the joint unions.

The team supporting the BBC membership includes elected representatives and national officials. Helen Ryan (supervisory official) and Anna Murray (national official), both of whom work full-time with the BBC membership, are amongst those assessing the DQF detail and preparing for early discussions with members. 

BBC interview with Gerry Morrissey

BECTU's press release

Major significance

The proposals are of major importance. Not only do they affect audience services right across the Corporation but they threaten a significant worsening of staff terms and conditions (eg pay rates, flexible working allowances, redundancy rights) in addition to the huge proposed loss of 2000 jobs, some 9 per cent of total BBC staff, working on a figure of 22,000.

This morning (6 October) Mark Thompson, director-general, and Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, briefed all staff via the BBC ringmain. 

The BBC's online newspaper, Ariel, summed up the key proposals:

  • Two thousand jobs will go.
  • One thousand more posts will go to Salford.
  • The Sports rights budget will be cut by 15%.
  • BBC One's spend on films and bought-in programmes will reduce.
  • All new daytime programming will be on BBC One.
  • BBC Two's daytime output will focus on repeats and international current affairs.
  • BBC Three will move to Salford.
  • The BBC HD channel will close - BBC Two will be solely HD.
  • Local radio afternoon output will be shared across regions.
  • Some news bureaux will close.
  • White City will be emptied out and sold.
  • The BBC's orchestras and performing groups will be independently assessed, some could be closed.
  • The Asian Network's budget will be cut by 34% and the service will be 're-focused.'
  • Comedy on Radio 2 and 5 Live will be reduced, there will be fewer lunchtime concerts on Radio 3.
  • Factual programming for TV and Radio 4 will move from Birmingham to Bristol and Cardiff.
  • More content will be shared and more programming from the Nations will be broadcast on network.
  • The News Channel will focus on breaking news, with more repeated material during off-peak hours.
  • BBC Four will be more 'complementary' to BBC Two, and BBC Three will be more of a test bed for BBC One. In both cases commissioning and scheduling will be closely aligned.
  • Job grading, redundancy terms and unpredictability allowances will be 'modernised' and reformed. A consultation process on those proposals begins immediately.
  • Production will be streamlined into a single UK production economy;
  • Radio and TV commissioning for Science and Music will be brought together.

No to arbitrary dates

Ahead of an afternoon meeting with management, due to be attended by representatives from BECTU, the NUJ and Unite, BECTU was expected to demand the withdrawal of all arbitrary dates for the imposition of changes to staff terms and conditions. For example, the BBC's proposals declare that staff allowances for flexible working will be withdrawn for new starters from 1 April 2012.

News of the BBC's proposals has attracted worldwide interest, such is the importance of the BBC to global media.

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