BBC's offer is rejected as unions call for more talks - Press Gazette

BBC's offer is rejected as unions call for more talks

By Caitlin Pike

Union representatives at the BBC have rejected the offer made by the
corporation last week and called for another meeting with director
general Mark Thompson over plans to axe nearly 4,000 jobs.

During talks at Acas, the BBC said it would uphold a moratorium on
compulsory redundancies for a year. The unions – NUJ, Bectu and Amicus
– then called off the second planned strike.

But when union
representatives met on Tuesday this week, they agreed the BBC’s offer
did not address their concerns over the impact job cuts would have on
programme quality and the health of staff, who would take on extra work
after 20 per cent of the workforce lost their jobs.

NUJ general
secretary Jeremy Dear said: “While we welcomed the fact that in the
wake of the strong action taken by members on 23 May the BBC had
dropped its refusal to negotiate, the proposals put forward by the BBC
failed to address core concerns of the unions.

We would like a
meeting with Mark Thompson as soon as possible to draw up a framework
in which divisional level negotiations on the value for money plans and
job losses, and in particular, compulsory redundancies, can proceed.”

added that when the unions met Thompson last week, he put thecase of
BBC News 24 to him – highlighting the effect of the job losses on the
news channel. Dear claimed Thompson replied he could not discuss his
savings package in such detail but said there would be an opportunity
for consultation at divisional level.

The unions said they would resume industrial action if meaningful talks fail to take place.

MSPs believe the 195 planned job cuts in Scotland will affect programming


BBC Scotland was attacked by the Scottish Parliament’s enterprise
and culture committee on Tuesday over the proposal to axe 195 editorial
jobs in Scotland, writes Hamish Mackay. MSPs believe the BBC cannot
guarantee that technical and programme quality can be maintained if the
controversial proposals go ahead.

BBC Scotland controller Ken MacQuarrie told the committee last month
that the corporation would reinvest £10m annual savings in new services
– including hiring journalists for local news services.

and culture committee convener Alex Neil said: “We are concerned that
what is happening is being driven by the financial targets set in
London, rather than what is good for Scotland and Scotland’s creative

The committee called for the BBC to enter into
meaningful negotiations. The NUJ disputes the job cut figures and
believes the total number of jobs to be lost in Scotland will be
between 230 and 240.

A BBC Scotland spokesman said: “We have
always recognised our proposals present difficult challenges – and we
do not underestimate that in any way. We will listen and address these
concerns, but believe we can introduce the changes outlined while
maintaining the quality of output.”



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