London Studios talks break down

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SO Graham Norton in rehearsal at the London Studios

Talks over proposed new terms and conditions at The London Studios have broken down.

After seven weeks of intensive negotiation the talks at The London Studios (TLS), based at the ex-London Weekend Television South Bank building, have collapsed.

At the end of June, TLS management served notice on staff that radically different terms and conditions would be imposed from 1 January 2006.

Following a threat from the Joint Unions (BECTU and Amicus) to ballot for industrial action, management withdrew the notice in early October and both sides committed to four weeks of intensive negotiation to try to find an acceptable way forward.

During the following month, the unions put forward two detailed sets of counter proposals and some progress was made.

Then on 8 November, TLS management put forward a completely new set of proposed new terms and conditions which the unions have been carefully examining.

As a result, on the 23 November the unions proposed an amended version of management's new proposals which it was felt may have constituted the basis for an agreed settlement. In response, TLS management have rejected the unions' proposals and the talks have therefore collapsed.

It was agreed that neither side will seek to escalate the dispute, management by imposing the new terms or the unions by balloting for industrial action, until the formal Disputes Procedure has been exhausted. The likely next step is a Stage III Disputes meeting involving senior managers and union officials.

BECTU National Official Nigel Mason said: "We are disappointed in the way the talks have broken down. A great deal of time and effort has been put in by both sides in an attempt to secure some of the changes management feel are essential at The London Studios, whilst safeguarding the interests of our members.

"These proposed changes will have a massive impact on the lives of members and their work/life balance. We can assure members at TLS that we will keep them informed and they will be consulted as this situation develops"

24 November 2005