BBC Technology bidder meets union

BECTU representatives are due to open talks with Siemens Business Services, the company hoping to buy BBC Technology.

Union officials plan to meet managers from Siemens early tomorrow (July 8) to discuss the future of 1400 BBC staff affected by plans to sell BBC Technology to the German-owned industrial giant.

Siemens was today announced as the final preferred bidder in a race to take over most of the BBC's technical facilities in areas like information technology and broadcast engineering.

Soon after the announcement, the BBC confirmed that Siemens would meet BECTU to begin negotiations about the terms and conditions of staff who could be transferred out of BBC Technology.

Although the union opposes the sell-off in principle, and is running an industrial action ballot among members in BBC Technology, the invitation to meet Siemens' management was accepted, in order that union representatives could raise key concerns about staffing issues.

Until the final bidder's identity was revealed, the BBC had refused to offer any guarantees that staff involved in the BBCT sell-off would be protected against losing their terms and conditons, and pension rights.

Now that Siemens has been named as the preferred bidder to buy BBC Technology, along with a 10-year exclusive contract for services worth more than £2bn, BECTU hopes to re-state a demand that staff should be protected for a minimum of three years after the sale, with no changes in terms and conditions, and a promise of secure employment.

BECTU's ballot for industrial action over the sell-off closes on July 9, followed on July 14 by the result of another ballot of IT staff in London News, many of whom are threatened with an enforced transfer into Siemens.

7 July 2004