NUJ launches dispute with BBC Scotland over "intimidation"
9 October 2012
The NUJ has entered into dispute proceedings with the BBC Scotland over its selection process for redundancies. The corporation is looking for a possible 15 compulsory redundancies.
In a letter to Wendy Aslett, Head of HR Nations, Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, said:
"Chapel members were shocked and angry at reports from a number of members in relation to the way this is being managed.
"The motion passed was, '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'. We expect all interviews related to this to be put on hold until a fair and equitable system is agreed and put in place."
In one case, a pregnant woman who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure was asked to make a 500-mile round trip to attend an interview.
Paul Holleran said:
"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."
At the NUJ's Delegate Meeting in Newcastle this weekend, a motion was passed that instructed the union's national executive to demand 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".
Scottish media needs a boost, not cut backs – read Paul Holleran in the Morning Star.