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BFI workers reject new pay and grading scheme

BFI Southbank

20 December 2017

BECTU and Unite members have voted overwhelmingly to reject the British Film Institute’s (BFI) proposed new pay and grading scheme.

The vote

The BFI’s offer was rejected by 94% of BECTU members, with 6% of those taking part voting to accept, whilst 85% of Unite members voted to reject with 15% accepting the proposal.

All parties have now agreed to seek the services of ACAS with a view to resolving the issue in the New Year.

Helen Ryan, BECTU assistant national secretary, said:

“The strength of the votes against the BFI's proposals, from both BECTU and Unite, illustrates how determined members are not to take a step back with pay and grading. We believe the system should be updated without a cost to BFI staff'.”

New scheme

The proposal updates the pay and grading scheme from one which includes incremental progression to one based on a set salary for the grade. In future the only way an individual could earn more than the set salary rate would be by taking on additional responsibilities, being identified as an expert practitioner or because a market forces supplement is needed.

The proposal would allow people to decide whether to opt into the new scheme or remain on the current legacy scheme. Members can find the BFI Proposed New Pay & Grading Scheme Rules here.

No recommendation

The joint unions did not recommend the pay and grading proposal. It was felt that the pay point spot salaries should be higher and that the BFI was effectively downgrading the rate for the job. In addition there was no ‘future proofing’ of the structure against increases in the Living Wage above 1%, meaning an erosion of salary differentials with Level 1 becoming defunct over time. 

How we got here

In March 2015 the government, via the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid MP, advised the BFI that it was required by March 2018 to abolish the current pay and grading scheme that allows for incremental progression.

Since that date there have been a number of meetings with the joint unions and management, including a working group to explore options. Several alternative proposals were tabled by the joint unions but these were rejected as ‘unaffordable’.

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