BECTU yesterday named two new strike dates for its BBC News members, on the 23 and 24 November.
‘They are trying to bring in a rota pattern that is totally unworkable,’ BBC engineer and BECTU rep, Tim Walton, told News Line on the picket line outside BBC Television Centre in White City during the first day of strike action at BBC News yesterday morning.
Technical support staff were on 24-hour strike against the shift pattern changes and other ‘fundamentally unfair changes’ to terms and conditions of employment.
Tim continued: ‘We would have to work at least another 30 days a year and there would be a substantial cut in wages, the average figure being about 20 per cent.
‘They are planning to tear up our local agreements, which have worked very well since 1983, and impose these changes in the middle of January.
‘If we were to lose this dispute, many other groups in the BBC would suffer similar attacks. But they are not going to win this struggle.
London TV News BECTU Branch Secretary Tim Malone agreed: ‘In the coming months there are to be compulsory redundancies.
‘Each department is being balloted separately.
‘In my view, we should all be balloted together.
‘I believe BBC-wide action is necessary to defend our jobs, conditions and pensions,’ he added.
Engineer and BECTU member, Nick Langley, said: ‘The proposals would make many more inroads into people’s work-life balance and the opportunity to have a life outside work.
‘We are determined to resist these changes.’
BECTU member Adrian Rausch, speaking on the picket line at Millbank, opposite parliament, condemned management’s plans to tear up local union agreements.
He said: ‘We have had local agreements since 1998.
‘Twenty per cent of staff have been made redundant in the last two years, the remainder of us will have to do more work for less pay.’
He reiterated: ‘By cutting travel allowances and overtime, some members will have their pay cut by 20 per cent.’