the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

15 November 2011

Today's announcement (15 November) that the BBC has lifted its deadline on changes to allowances for current staff will not alter BECTU's plan to take strike action if members deliver a mandate on 24 November when the ballot closes.

Whilst the union has welcomed management's decision to schedule talks on unpredictable working allowances (UPA) with talks on a new pay and grading structure, the union maintains that implementation of any agreement on changes to staff pay should be deferred until 2017 to coincide with a new (and, it is hoped, improved) licence fee settlement.

"Worst licence fee settlement in history"

Commenting on today's development, Gerry Morrissey, general secretary said:

"The BBC has made a concession. However, the re-think needs to go much further if management are to regain some of the trust lost as a result of the worst licence fee settlement in history."

In October 2010 senior executives, led by director-general Mark Thompson, agreed without consultation to a freeze in the licence fee and to additional funding responsibilities which led directly to planned budget cuts of almost £700m and to proposals to cut 2000 staff when the Delivering Quality First strategy was unveiled six weeks ago.

BECTU, which is working with the NUJ and Unite on a campaign to defend staff and quality output from the attacks inherent in DQF, insists that DQF is ill-judged and that a decline in programme quality through loss of staff and programme investment will compromise the BBC's long term future.

The joint union ballot closes at 12 noon on 24 November. The joint unions are also organising a lobby of Parliament and a public meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 6 December to highlight the threats to the UK's leading public service broadcaster.