Resources pay talks start

Talks on possible changes to BBC Resources pay system have started.

Negotiations between BECTU and BBC Resources Ltd management are expected to last 12 months, with a target of April 2003 for the introduction of any changes.

BECTU Representatives have emphasised that the discussions are at an extremely early stage, and that any proposals could change dramatically over the period of the talks.

Broad ideas have been outlined by management which represent a break from overall BBC agreements.

BBC members are encouraged to provide an initial response to the union. The next meeting with management is expected to be held in the last week of February.

The talks result from the pay and conditions ballot held last July in Resources, which included long-term negotiations on introducing a new pay system intended to:

  • Link employee pay to company performance
  • Reward, retain, and attract key skills and talent
  • Control paybill costs and ensure an appropriate level of variable cost

First meeting

At the initial meeting in the past week Resources management outlined to BECTU Representatives a possible model for a future pay system in Resources.

Management outlined the background to the talks from their point of view. They said Resources had an ageing workforce, with long average service and low staff turnover compared to many other areas of the BBC.

This said they believed this had resulted in a high staff pay bill compared to overall expenditure in Resources, and that this bill suffered from higher inflation than other areas due to low staff turnover.

Management said that pay had traditionally been presented as a cost, but they now wished to consider pay as a reward.

They said they did not want to inflate the pay bill as result of these talks, and they did not have large amounts of money to bring to the table.

They said that over and above basic pay in Resources, the majority salary expenditure was on UPA (Unpredictability Allowances) and overtime, with relatively little spent on bonuses. They said they wished to move these payments to be more focused on business performance.

They said the current system, particularly UPA, puts the emphasis on time worked.

They also recognised the problems, previously pointed out by BECTU, of performance related pay in Resources.

They wished to deliver a 'behavioural and cultural change' from what they saw as the current emphasis on time worked to performance.

They said that until now pay had been used to control managerial behaviour in such areas as scheduling - they now wished to use 'managerial judgement in the future'.

Three level system

They outlined possible arrangements based on the premise of group and team performance reward in the future. This said this would mean 'buying out' current UPA and overtime payments.

They recognised such a move would involve risk.

Management outlined a system based on the above, incorporating three levels based on the number of days to be worked over a 12 month period:

'Bronze' - basic level of daysx (eg 174)£A [0]
£A [1/2]
'Silver' - higher level of daysy (eg 2??)£B [0]
£B [1/2]
'Gold' - highest level of daysz (eg 2??)£C [0]
£C [1/2]

In connection with the above management said:

  • Level
    • Most staff would likely be at the 'bronze' level.
    • Staff could move up or down levels each year on request.
    • Staff moving up to an higher level would depend 'if their time can be sold'.
  • Days
    • The number of days would be the total number of days to be worked over a 12 month period.
    • The number of days increases with level, with x < y < z
    • The example numbers of days shown are only indicative.
  • Salary
    • Salary represents annual salary paid as currently
    • Salary increases with level, with £A < £B < £C
    • Salary £A represents the current fully competent salary for the category concerned, with £B higher up the salary scale and £C higher again.
    • At each level those currently on UPA1/2 would paid at a higher salary, shown as [1/2], than those currently on UPA0, shown as [0].
    • Junior staff would progress to the above fully competent levels depending on competence, flexibility and length of service.
    • [0] and [1/2] salary levels would apply to categories, not individuals.
    • The salary levels would represent an inclusive payment to cover:
      • current basic pay
      • overtime
      • assumed number of night working payments
      • UPA
      with the exception of:
      • Resources-wide company profit bonus
      • Other bonuses

Management saw the above system being codified into a 'simple document' incorporating the three levels.

It is envisaged that all current Hours and Days Conditions staff, along with those on other contractual arrangements (eg SFS), would be covered by these arrangements in Resources.

Management said they had been considering some form of consolidation of pension contributions over and above current basic salaries. They said that any changes would need Pension Fund agreement, that funding for full consolidation was unlikely, and that management would wish for any consolidation to be for future service.

Finally they said that changes may be required to be proposed to conditions of service arrangements in Resources as a result of the development of the above system.


The talks are a result of the pay ballot in July last year, which resulted in a 20 month deal covering Resources staff which included:

  • 2.5% pay rise in August 2001
  • 2.5% pay rise in April 2002
  • Moving the pay anniversary to April from 2003
  • Long-term negotiations on introducing a new pay system

BBC Resources Ltd includes the following departments:

  • London Television Centre Studios
  • London Television OBs
  • London Radio OBs (currently proposed to return to Radio and Music in April 2002)
  • Graphics (MediaArc) in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast (Belfast is currently proposed to transfer to Technology Ltd later in the year)
  • Post Production in London, Birmingham and Bristol
  • Central Technical Areas in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester

3 February 2002
Amended 12 February 2002