the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

18 July 2013

Union members at Red Bee are taking part in a consultative ballot on a pay offer for 2013/14.

All employees earning up to £62,500, with the exception of those in the Creative division, are being offered a 2.1 per cent pay increase.

Additional provisions for the lowest paid

Staff earning less than £22,000 are being offered an additional 0.5 per cent or 2.6 per cent. Staff whose earnings fall below the London Living Wage will have their pay adjusted to meet the current level of £8.55 an hour.  

The company is proposing to increase certain allowances (day conditions additional hours, night pay/shift pay, bank holiday payments) by 2.1 per cent. All other allowances to be frozen at current levels. 

Different treatment for Creative

For staff in the Creative division Red Bee is proposing to make a sum equivalent to 2.1 per cent of the pay bill for this group available for discretionary increases. 

Writing to members on 8 July to coincide with the start of the ballot, Noel McClean, national official and branch officials, Naomi Taylor and Antony Dominici said:

"We have concerns about the approach on pay taken in Creative, however we have informed Red Bee Media that we will be using the time between this pay review and next years to consult with our members in Creative. The aim of that consultation will be to better understand their ideas and views for pay going forward in readiness for next year’s pay review.

"We have informed them, and will confirm in writing, that they should not necessarily expect us to continue to accept this approach in future.

"Whilst the offer does not meet our claim in full, we do believe it is the best that can be achieved by negotiation and compares well with other settlements in what are very difficult times.

Balanced deal

"We also feel it is a very balanced deal. We have been able to address the concerns of our relatively lower paid members whilst still maintaining a reasonable pay increase for everyone else.

 "We have also managed to flow the full value of the award through to all significant allowances including UPA. In doing so we have protected all of the major elements which form our members regular pay."

BECTU submitted its pay claim in April and had set out the case for a one per cent increase above RPI for all staff. In April inflation was running at 2.7 per cent (CPI) and 3.3 per cent (RPI). 

Union says 'vote yes'

The union, which is recommending acceptance of the pay offer, is asking members to consider its report and to use their vote in the consultative ballot. The members' decision will be known on Wednesday 31 July, the date the ballot closes. 

Planned acquisition by Ericsson

As well as considering the pay review, Red Bee staff have also been advised that their parent company Macquarrie has agreed terms for the acquisition of Red Bee by technology company Ericsson. 

Writing to staff on 1 July, Red Bee's CEO Patrick Tillieux said:

"I know that change can be unsettling, but you should be reassured that there are no planned changes to our management, staff, services or structure as a result of this process."

BECTU had been briefed on the CEO's announcement and also wrote to members to provide reassurance on the implications of the change in ownership. The union views the announcement as a positive step and does not expect its constructive relationship with Red Bee to alter as a result.

The planned acquisition is subject to regulatory approval which is expected in a few months. 

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