the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

3 April 2012

Members at BBC Birmingham have voted strongly in favour of management concessions to revolve their dispute over the move of output away from the Midlands centre.

A 24-hour strike over 18/19 January registered firm opposition to the plans to move key programmes away from the Mailbox.

Subsequent talks produced concessions which members voted for by a majority of more than 10 to 1 in favour.

Concessions won

In an update for members and representatives today, BBC supervisory official, Helen Ryan, explained:

"Although we were not able to reverse the decision to move the programmes the members did win some concessions from the BBC.

These include: 1) more support activity from the BBC regarding redeployment, 2) clarification that there is no restriction on what jobs people can come back to on a casual/freelance basis after 3 months and 3) confirmation that the DQF Relocation Policy should apply to staff at risk of redundancy who get redeployment at alternative locations (over 30 miles) subject to certain terms."

The BBC offered this statement on relocation expenses to help to resolve the dispute:

“Relocation expenses as set out in this policy will be paid in circumstances where individuals at risk of redundancy secure redeployment to alternative roles in other locations, providing this is economically and operationally appropriate.

"In judging this, the business area should evaluate and confirm that relocation costs do not exceed redundancy costs and balance this against other considerations such as: retention of key and scarce skills/experience, whether the local talent pool can offer these skills/experience, recruitment and training costs."

BECTU's agreement with the BBC also clarified that voluntary relocations for individuals not at risk of redundancy, or do who not meet the above criteria, are out of scope of the policy.

In a further statement, Helen Ryan confirmed that this concession, in the interests of equity for all staff affected by the BBC's cost-cutting under Delivering Quality First, will apply to all BBC employees and not just to members in Birmingham.

Members in BBC Vision, Audio and Music and Information and Archives voted to accept the agreement which delivers more options for staff able to move to Bristol and for those who want to remain in Birmingham.

"The next few months will continue to be pressurised both for the staff affected by the changes and for those who remain, however the agreement which resolves this dispute provides assistance for staff which they had to fight to secure," commented Helen Ryan.

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