#DM18: BBC members see a national strike on the horizon
Pierre Vicary - © paul herrmann
21 April 2018
Recruitment to the BBC has been brisk of late, with many new reps sitting in the hall for their first DM.
That is the good news. The bad is that it is the BBC’s behaviour that has driven its staff towards the union, because they see they need the NUJ campaigning for their rights, be it on the year-long negotiations on terms and conditions (T&Cs) or the equal pay row, which has made many women very angry, delegates were told..
Pierre Vicary, chair of the Broadcasting Industrial Council, said the T&C battle would soon be reaching crunch-time: “National strikes could be on their way. No way will we accept the crock of shit the management is forcing down the throat of members.”
He told DM the BBC was dying a death of a thousand cuts and the licence fee was being constantly raided to pay for government pet projects and to prop other parts of the broadcasting industry. “Stop using us as a grab-all,” he said. “Why should be BBC become part of the Department of Work and Pensions and pay for the free licences of the over-75s?”
DM agreed the NEC would continue its campaign against the free TV licence fee policy, cuts in staffing and training, oppose the constant salami-slicing and reject any compulsory redundancy of NUJ members – using industrial action if necessary.
Krisztina Satori of the World Service paid tribute to general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, for her work on women’s equal pay claims against the BBC. As a rep co-ordinating cases of women fighting an equal pay claim, she said she was proud to sit behind Michelle and Carrie Gracie at the culture and media select committee meeting as part of its inquiry into pay at the BBC. “Having a woman general secretary is one way of keeping our eyes on these issues,” she said.
DM also voted to show solidarity with members working at Red Bee Media. David Gallagher of BBC London said: “These people who edit subtitles and the EPG guides were once part of the BBC. Since then, they have suffered a toxic combination of out-sourcing, offshoring and extreme cost-cutting measures which have seriously degraded the editorial operation. We need to offer them our support.”
Delegates also instructed the NEC to take all appropriate action to support NUJ members at Al-Araby where members and reps have been victimised and the firm’s Qatar owners refused to talk to the union.
During the broadcasting sector meeting at the start of DM, a rep from Al-Jazeera told delegates its members had voted to take action over pay and other branches offered support for their campaign.