BECTU lobbies BBC Governors

BECTU, along with the NUJ and AEEU, lobbied the BBC Governors on Thursday 23 January about the possibility of a wholly owned subsidiary being formed, BBC Resources Ltd, and the creation of new Production and Broadcast Directorates.

The BBC recognised unions presented an open letter to the Governors before one of their regular meetings in London last Thursday.

The letter outlined staff fears about the possibility of turning the BBC Resources Directorate into a wholly owned subsidiary company, since it was understood that the issue would be discussed at the Governors' meeting.

This followed a similar exercise last November, when the unions asked for assurances on future employment, job security and pension benefits. Since then no formal statement has been received from the BBC management about the future of Resources in the Corporation.

The outcome of any decisions that may have been made at the meeting last week are not currently known.

BECTU is against the move to create an wholly-owned subsidiary from the Resources Directorate.

If it is proposed by BBC management that such a company is formed, the union intends to table a list of issues on which staff want guarantees, including pension rights, conditions of service and redundancy arrangements.

If the BBC refuses to give adequate assurances, the union will launch a ballot for industrial action, and expects a solid vote in favour of action.

Plans for Resources Ltd. have been kept under wraps since the Corporation first admitted the idea was "under consideration" last October. BBC Governors are thought to have debated the proposal at least twice. No formal report has been given to the union about the progress of management discussion, but Resources Directorate itself has used its internal communications system to convince staff that the move is inevitable and beneficial.

BBC Resources management have claimed that the split away from the BBC would allow Resources to compete in the facilities market without limits on borrowing and sales tactics like loss leading.

However the union believes that any trading restrictions currently imposed on Resources will remain until it is finally privatised, a prospect that management refuse to rule out in the long term.

27 January 1997