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BBC strike ballot over pay begins

25 June 2014

BBC journalists will start balloting tomorrow for strike action over pay, after management failed to make a meaningful improvement to its offer.

The joint unions (NUJ, Bectu and Unite) held a meeting with Tony Hall, director general, Anne Bulford, managing director, finance and operations and James Harding, director of news and current affairs, but decided to reject their revised offer of:

  • A revised minimum increase of £650 for those earning less than £50,000
  • A 1 per cent increase on earnings up to £50,000 for those earning over £50,000 – ie £500
  • A London weighting revision of the threshold beneath which individuals qualify for the higher rate of LW, from £25,000 to £35,000.

The NUJ tabled a proposal that would ensure fair and transparent pay across the BBC: a cap on executive pay at £150,000, which would immediately free up £20million and ensure a real cost of living increase.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The unions believe the BBC can do better if it values its staff. After lengthy negotiations, the management remained unwilling to move to an offer representing a genuine cost of living increase. That's why I am asking members to reject this offer and vote yes for industrial action.
"The NUJ challenged the growing trend within BBC News of doling out "jobs for mates", despite the public commitments made last week to boost diversity in the corporation. We highlighted the instances of external appointments being made outside the agreed process, plus salaries significantly in excess of usual rates for the job."

The NUJ also challenged insinuations by certain managers that if members did not accept the offer on pay, there would be more job losses as a consequence.

Michelle Stanistreet said:

"We will not accept attempts to intimidate members."

The union is, however, prepared to continue with talks in order to achieve a solution.

The ballot will close on 15 July.

The NUJ and Bectu are also balloting at BBC Worldwide after rejecting a pay award of 1.3 per cent.

Tags: , bbc, pay, strike, ballot, tony hall, anne bulford, james harding, bbc worldwide