NUJ calls for strike action at BBC


By The Drum Team, Editorial

May 1, 2012 | 3 min read

The National Union of Journalists, alongside Bectu and Unite are calling for strike action at the BBC over pay, the introduction of a new appraisal system and compulsory redundancies being enforced after failure on the redeployment of staff members.

Talks between the unions and the BBC have been ongoing since the announcement of the BBC’s Delivering Quality First budget cuts as a result of the freeze on the licence fee as part of the Government’s austerity measures.

A ballot for union members to vote whether to take industrial action has now been opened until 21 May.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, led the call for strike action at the corporation, saying; "This is not just about a derisory pay deal of 1 per cent imposed on our members without proper consultation. It is about the BBC going back on a deal made last autumn on a redeployment scheme which has left members needlessly facing compulsory redundancy, when there are jobs elsewhere in the corporation. It is also about an unfair appraisal scheme under which all members of staff would be marked. Again this is being imposed without consultation.

"We are taking this action, not out of self-interest, but because we love the BBC. We are taking this action because we believe licence fee payers should have a service which is properly funded and where the staff receive fair pay. Most people who work for the BBC are not paid well. The median salary is £30,000 and a starting salary in the regions is typically £17,000. We would not be in this position if the BBC management had not shut down consultation on these pay and conditions issues.

"We are also sticking up for the BBC in our campaign to call for an urgent reinvestigation into the handling of the licence fee deal and the huge influence the Murdochs and senior News International figures had on this government behind the scenes. Emasculating the BBC and pushing through the BskyB deal at any cost was a shared agenda by those at the heart of News International and at the heart of this government. Jeremy Hunt should resign and BBC management should be joining forces with the NUJ and calling for an urgent renegotiation of the licence fee deal conducted properly and transparently," added Stanistreet.

A letter to BBC staff, Helen Boaden, director of BBC news group, has also been placed on the NUJ website, stating: "For most people this is genuinely an age of austerity; the UK economy has just slipped back into recession; many people fear for their jobs - including of course, people in BBC News; there is a kind of collective anxiety about the place which is more apparent the further from London you travel. Against that background, I don't think our licence fee payers are in any mood to tolerate us even suggesting that for our own interests, we should damage BBC output."


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