Unions at the BBC voted in favour of strike action after the BBC announced that it intended to cut 1,800 jobs along with proposed changes to employment terms and conditions and pensions.
After through-the-night talks in January the BBC and the joint unions – broadcasting union, Bectu, the National Union of Journalists and Unite – announced they had reached agreement in principle in the current dispute, which was subject to acceptance by a consultative ballot of the joint unions’ membership.
The deal has now been approved by members of the unions in a postal ballot.
After a meeting today of the NUJ’s BBC Mothers and Fathers of Chapels (M/FoCs) they promised to keep up the pressure on the BBC to avoid compulsory redundancies.
The meeting passed a motion that said: ‘The BBC has become an increasingly stressful working environment as a direct result of job losses under the Value for Money and Creative Futures cuts. We note with alarm that workloads have increased substantially on many members, in some cases to an unacceptable level. This meeting reminds the BBC of Mark Thompson’s promise that workloads on remaining staff will not increase and calls on chapels to be vigilant in opposing any deterioration of programme quality and working practices.
‘M/FoCs instruct negotiators to continue efforts to avoid compulsory redundancies among NUJ members under the BBC’s Creative Futures proposals.
‘This meeting confirms the NUJ’s policy to oppose any compulsory redundancies by all possible means including a ballot throughout the NUJ’s BBC membership for industrial action.”
In the statement of agreement the unions agreed for a new policy for managing reorganisation and redundancies. Both sides agreed to maintain secure employment for BBC employees where possible, but the BBC is to determine which employees it must retain to ‘meet business need”.
Any staff being made redundant before 31 March 2010 will be given at least five months notice.
The BBC has also agreed that a minimum of 12 per cent of staff who have been ‘displaced’will be found a job elsewhere in the BBC.
Under the deal BBC employees will have to increase their payments into the BBC Pension Scheme from six per cent of pay in steps to 7.5 per cent from 2010.