Bectu to strike

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The BBC unions announced yesterday that they will be targeting the Jubilee celebrations, following BBC management’s decision to write directly to members of staff with a derisory pay offer instead of negotiating through the agreed channels.

Only one meeting has been held at which management tabled a ‘final’ offer of one per cent, subject to a minimum increase of £400, to officials from BECTU, the NUJ and Unite.

The unions’ claim, submitted on January 1st, sought a pay increase of two per cent above RPI, subject to a minimum increase of £1,000.

The joint unions will serve notice of a strike ballot today with a planned balloting period beginning on April 30 and concluding on May 21.

BBC unions lead negotiator, Gerry Morrissey (BECTU general secretary), said: ‘By going over the unions’ heads and increasing our members’ salaries before negotiations are concluded, the BBC is very helpfully placing a down-payment in our members’ pockets to help them through the forthcoming Jubilee strike.

‘This is an act of poor faith. It adds injury to the insulting pay offer. The BBC had actually asked us to consult members and had scheduled a meeting on pay with us for next week.

‘We had informed them that a direct offer of one per cent would be seen as a hostile act by the joint unions. We now have no option but to call a strike ballot at the earliest opportunity.’

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: ‘The NUJ does not accept the implementation of this derisory pay award with no attempt at genuine negotiation.

‘It is not just about pay. It is about the BBC’s failure to negotiate on a range of issues affecting our members.

‘This includes the failure of the BBC management to properly implement a re-deployment scheme that was agreed in autumn.

‘This has left us with members needlessly facing compulsory redundancy. There are jobs these members could go to, but the BBC is failing to fulfil its part of the bargain.’

Mike Eatwell of Unite said: ‘In the middle of a pay negotiation management have chosen to terminate collective bargaining and impose a sum.

‘That is not acceptable to Unite who will oppose any withdrawal of our members’ right to bargain on their pay and conditions.’