the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

3 July 2008

Red Bee Media members are being recommended to reject a two year pay offer in a consultative ballot.

his follows the break down of pay negotiations at which Red Bee management offered a 2.5% salary increase for this year and 2009.

Controversially Red Bee also proposed staff in the Creative department are taken out of annual pay bargaining.

The unions have said this is “completely unacceptable, both in principle and in practice”.

Red Bee Media, formerly BBC Broadcast, is involved in television playout operations for a number of broadcasters, including all BBC channels.

Union negotiators are recommending members reject the pay offer in the ballot, which closes 1200 on Tuesday 15 July 2008.

It is likely if the ballot rejects the offer, and Red Bee refuse to re-open negotiations, a ballot for industrial action will be held.

BECTU, in a letter to Red Bee members accompanying ballot papers, gives four reasons why members should reject the pay offer:

  • 2.5% as a general rise this year and next is not a credible offer. Inflation (RPI) currently stands at 4.3%. If you recall, the pay claim sought to redress the balance of three consecutive years of below inflation increases by asking for the current RPI+ 1% for this year alone. In Red Bee Media’s offer a trigger point of RPI at 5.3% is proposed for March 2009, at which point management would be prepared to return to the table to talk about pay. This is clearly unacceptable.
  • As management insisted on a two-year deal we asked that terms and conditions remain untouched for two years. Management’s final position was that “if and when we decide to progress” such talks, it would be through normal consultation. This falls far short of any sort of guarantee.
  • We have requested that management discuss implementation with us to ensure that any rise that may or may not be applied on 1 August will be backdated should a new and improved offer be reached after this point.
  • It is proposed that staff in Creative be moved to an entirely discretionary reward system by 2009. Managers are to have full discretion in making awards. In other words, removing Creative colleagues from the general pay round. This is anathema to the joint unions and is completely unacceptable, both in principle and in practice. This is not even a thin edge, this is an entire wedge driven into the joint unions’ bargaining unit. Even if a credible offer had been made on pay, the joint unions would still urge rejection on any offer seeking to take members out of the annual pay round.