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BECTU warns BBC of possible strike ballot

BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey, who is leading the pay talks with the BBC. Gerry Morrissey believes a strike ballot is now likely given the BBC's final offer on pay for 2010/11. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni

30 June 2010

BECTU has warned the BBC today (30 June) that it believes a strike ballot is likely in response to the BBC's final offer on pay tabled at talks today.

Despite strong representations from BECTU and fellow organisers in the NUJ and Unite, the BBC tabled its final offer on pay for 2010/11 which included little movement from its earlier position.

Final offer

The offer to staff now stands at a flat rate increase of £475 for staff paid up to £37,726 a year. Staff paid above the BBC-defined cap face a pay freeze. In a slight change from the earlier offer, the BBC is proposing to increase rates of pay at the floor and ceiling of BBC grades and staff allowances by 1 per cent.

Thirty per cent of BECTU’s BBC membership would see no increase in earnings given the core offer on pay. 

The unions recognised by the BBC (BECTU, the NUJ and Unite) maintain that the BBC can afford to pay more to its staff across the board given the 2 per cent rise in its licence fee income. The proposal on the table would increase the pay bill by 1 per cent.

Offer described as 'insulting'

Commenting on the current situation, Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, said:

 “The offer of a flat increase of £475 for all those earning less than £37,726 and a pay freeze for those earning above that amount is insulting.

 “Last year the staff increase was below the rate of inflation. This year the BBC are offering well below inflation and only half of what they received from government in the licence fee settlement.

 “Thousands of BBC staff have been made redundant in recent years and management’s response to the additional workload now being carried by our members is the offer of a pay freeze or, at best, a token offer which on its own is insulting but which will anger staff on the back of this week’s proposed draconian changes to pension provision.”

Political expediency

 “In a politically expedient move, BBC executives have now decided that they are all part of the public sector after years of feathering their own nests with inflation-busting increases justified by reference to market rates.

 “Actually, the truth is that it is one rule for senior management and another for the programme makers, technicians, journalists and admin staff who make the BBC the great institution it is.”
 
BECTU, the NUJ and Unite will meet with BBC staff over the next few weeks at a series of meetings across the country starting on 5 July.

Looking ahead Gerry Morrissey said:

“We are keen to hear from our members and if the feedback we have received to date is reflected at BBC sites up and down the country, and the BBC fails to respond, then a strike ballot looks inevitable.”

Contact us for more information. BBC staff can join BECTU here

 

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