the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

24 February 2013

Tour guides at BBC Television Centre are to vote on strike action in a dispute over a proposed 17 per cent cut in pay.

The imminent closure of Television Centre in West London will mean that the guides, who show the general public around the iconic building, will move to New Broadcasting House in Central London.

To coincide with the move, management is insisting that the length of the standard tour guide shift will be reduced, leading to a sharp reduction in earnings.

Some 50,000 people took a tour of Television Centre in 2012 producing an income for the corporation of nearly £600,000.

The proposed pay cut is part of the BBC-wide cost saving exercise Delivering Quality First (DQF).

No alternative, says management

Managers insist that there is no alternative to the pay cut despite counter proposals tabled by BECTU. The BBC is also insisting that the guides must wear a uniform in order to display the BBC brand.

No one else amongst the thousands of staff affected by the relocation is having to face a pay cut.

The vote on strike action gets underway on Tuesday 26 February; the results will be known on Tuesday 12 March.

Assistant general secretary, Luke Crawley, said:

“Our members understand the financial reality facing the BBC. What they don't understand, however, is why out of thousands of staff moving from West London to New Broadcasting House, that they are the only ones faced with a savage cut in earnings. None of the managers involved are facing any reduction in pay.

"The BBC seems very keen to tell my members that the pay cut is for the good of the department and the BBC. What managers are less keen to explain is how the workforce is expected to get by on a pay cut of nearly 20 per cent.”

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Updated 14 March 2013 to reflect change to date for closure of the ballot.