Calls for BBC to suspend 15 compulsory redundancies in Scotland

The NUJ has called on BBC Scotland to suspend plans to make up to 15 compulsory redundancies.

The union said it had entered into dispute proceedings with BBC Scotland over its selection process for redundancies.

Local chapel members passed a motion saying: “This chapel has no faith in the Selection for Retention process, believes members are being intimated and targeted and moves to put the process into formal dispute.”

The BBC denies the union’s claims.

In a letter to Wendy Aslett, head of HR Nations, NUJ organiser Paul Holleran wrote:

There is an overwhelming belief that the process is flawed and there has been insufficient consultation to allow agreement to be reached, we therefore seek suspension of the selection process. 

There is also no reason to plough ahead so soon with these job losses as part of the so-called Delivering Quality First programme which seeks to cut the BBC’s budget by 20 per cent. 

That is why we have called for a change in direction by BBC Scotland management to avoid the inevitable conflict.  Management has a great opportunity to demand, from the paymasters in London, substantial additional funds to cover two massive projects coming up in Scotland over the next two years.

The Commonwealth Games, while not as grand in scale as the Olympics, nevertheless offers a wonderful chance for BBC Scotland to showcase the range of skills and creativity which exists among broadcasting staff north of the border. This must be funded properly.

There is also the matter of the issue of the independence referendum.  This is not a ‘one-off event’, as suggested by local BBC management. It is no less than about the future of the United Kingdom as we know it. 

On behalf of NUJ and Bectu members across BBC Scotland, we have called on Ken MacQuarrie, BBC Scotland controller to put a funding bid together which will do justice to the scale and importance of the independence referendum and Commonwealth Games to the people of Scotland.

Until this deal is brokered, all calls for job losses must be halted.

It comes after the a motion was passed at last week’s Delegate Meeting in Newcastle demanding an “immediate moratorium on any further cuts to staff at BBC Scotland until after the Commonwealth Games and the completion of the Scottish independence referendum”.

The motion also called for an immediate ballot for industrial action across the BBC and BBC World Service and Monitoring “in the event that any NUJ member of the corporation is threatened with compulsory redundancy”.

A spokesperson for the BBC said:

We recognise that our savings targets are challenging and we're committed to achieving as many as possible through voluntary means.  

We've had a number of constructive meetings with unions and we believe that our process is fair and reasonable. We have offered to meet union representatives again this week to discuss their concerns.

The Commonwealth Games and the Referendum are clearly significant events and are priorities BBC Scotland. We will continue with our plans to give them the appropriate level of coverage for our audiences.


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