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August 30, 2011

BBC pays out £32.5m in ‘flexibility’ payments to staff

By KimHeinz

The BBC pays out £32.5m a year to more than 8,000 staff considered to work ‘unpredictable’hours because they only get two weeks’ notice of their shift patterns.

The majority of staff are believed to be based in the BBC’s news teams, according to an article in The Daily Telegraph.

The payments are referred to as ‘flexibility allowance’and mean that staff at the corporation ‘can pocket an extra 10 per cent of their salary as a bonus if they are notified of their precise hours of work 14 days in advance, while those signed up to receive one week’s warning of their shifts receive an extra 20 per cent”, the paper claimed.

The Telegraph said rivals Sky News and ITN do not make similar payments to staff, adding that ‘working flexible hours is likewise seen as inherent to the jobs of national newspaper journalists, who do not receive pay supplements”.

It also claimed that senior executives at the corporation felt the allowances were “embarrassing and should be scrapped”.

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One ‘senior official’was quoted as saying:

These payments are a hangover from the past and are likely to be phased out as a result of the cuts. The whole thing needs to be modernised and made much easier to understand.

The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Michelle Stanistreet, said the union would fight attempts to remove the allowance, telling the paper:

It comes as no surprise that the BBC wants to take away these allowances because management have been trying to claw back money from hard working staff for years.

The current allowance is a key part of the employee pay package because the BBC pay rates are so low. Journalists starting out at the Corporation earn as little as £20,733.

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