Resources Limited? It's still no!

Conditions for BBC Resources staff have been agreed after the recent ballot - however BECTU remains opposed to the principle of establishing a limited company.

BBC members voted to accept ACAS proposals, which include guarantees on conditions of service and pension rights for staff in BBC Resources - though this does not imply agreement to the conversion of several sections of Resources into a limited company.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith's announcement that Resources Limited could go ahead was met by a letter from the union expressing disappointment that the minister had approved a move described by BECTU lawyers as "completely unnecessary".

BECTU broadcasting Supervisory Official Gerry Morrisey commented: "While this is disappointing, we have however ensured that Resources staff, for at least a period of two years, will be treated no less favourably than any other BBC staff, and after that period we will oppose any attempts by management to disenfranchise this group of staff".

The union has welcomed the strings the Chris Smith has attached to his approval resulting in the planned transfer of 4500 staff into BBC Resources Limited from 1 August.

The conditions include no privatisation of Resources Limited in the future without approval from Parliament. During intensive lobbying BECTU has put heavy emphasis on the dangers of breaking up of the BBC, and the union believes many of its arguments were accepted by the minister.

A further condition is the requirement that BBC Resources Limited pay the BBC for the use of the Corporation's name and logo. Consultants Ernst and Young are to recommend a final figure - rumours are circulating this could be a seven-figure annual sum.

Gerry Morrisey said: "Bearing in mind Resources Limited's financial plans indicate a best-case position of increasing its external income by £10million, if they have to pay more than £1million for the logo, then this surely brings into question the viability of the whole proposal".

19 July 1998