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Scottish freelances vote to accept BBC Scotland pay offer

By a narrow vote, freelances working for BBC Scotland have accepted a pay deal for 2013/14.

12 December 2013

BECTU’s Scottish freelance members have voted by a narrow margin to accept BBC Scotland’s pay offer for 2013/2014.

Members posted a vote of 53.33 per cent in favour compared to 46.67 per cent against. Once signed off (see below) the agreement will become effective from 1 October 2013. 

Although BBC Scotland resisted BECTU’s claim for an across the board increase and individual rises for all freelances working for the Corporation, the BBC did offer increases ranging from around 3 per cent to 32 per cent on the minimum agreed rates for around 60 per cent of the grades on the agreed ratecards.

Commenting on the vote, Paul McManus, BECTU's Scottish officer said:

"In voting to accept the offer, BECTU’s members made it clear that they are deeply unhappy at BBC Scotland’s refusal to either offer an across the board increase or to ensure that all freelances working for BBC Scotland receive some kind of an increase.

"Many of BECTU’s freelances work for BBC Scotland on and off throughout the year under PAYE Fixed Term Contracts  which means in practice that they would only get the agreed staff increase if they were actually employed on 1 August in any year. Unsurprisingly very few fixed term contracts are in place on this date. Equally any freelances who manage to negotiate a personal rate which is above the agreed minimums do not receive any increase at all."

Highest increases for grades where women are strongly represented

Despite the reservations about the BBC’s ability to deny some members an increase, BECTU does welcome the increases which have been offered particularly as the highest increases have been achieved for grades which are traditionally female dominated and which BECTU believes have been allowed to fall behind other grades.

BECTU’s negotiating team, led by Paul McManus, still has some loose ends to tie up before the deal is signed but in declaring the vote, BECTU has made it clear to BBC Scotland that the branch will continue to campaign for fair pay for all its freelance members.

Advice to BBC members

The branch counsels members to be aware that the BBC contracts system is not straightforward and urges members to have any BBC contracts checked out by BECTU before signing.

In particular any freelances who work for the BBC regularly,  and are offered PAYE contracts, should contact BECTU as early as possible so that BECTU can ensure they are being offered the appropriate rate and to argue for increases on previous contracts where possible. Full details of the agreement will be circulated to members once it has been confirmed.

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