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DM2014: Time for real change at BBC

11 April 2014

Delegates were critical of the approach of BBC management to industrial relations, and called for a meeting with new director general Tony Hall in order to re-establish a good working relationship.

Michelle Stanistreet said that in recent years the BBC's approach to industrial relations had been a strategic one to "diminish and dismantle collective bargaining at the corporation, creating an emasculated 'union-lite' culture of compliance where the public sector ethos has been well and truly jettisoned in favour of an approach adopted by bargain basement employers". She said:

"So it was gratifying when the BBC abandoned some of its key initiatives – notably on pay and grading – at the end of last year. We await the appointment of the new HR director.
“Getting its house in order is vital if the BBC is to steer its way through what will be a critical time as we approach the next licence fee negotiations and charter renewal. We welcome the commitment that Tony Hall has made as director general to get a grip on the way the BBC is run. He has been candid about the toxic impact executive pay and waste has had – on staff and on licence fee payers. He has also stated in meetings that he believes in trade unions and their important role in workplaces.
“So this is his challenge. NUJ members at the BBC want a real change for the better to take place in relations between the union and the BBC – we stand prepared to work hard to achieve this and hope the BBC will step up to the plate and do the same.”

Conference also called for a national dialogue between unions and the new local television companies to help create a benchmark pay structure, proper levels of training, health and safety standards and to uphold proper editorial standards.

Speakers said efforts should be directed at preventing the misuse of students, interns and casuals in the local stations, as well as avoiding the misuse of casuals and those already working for newspapers allied to the new broadcasters. (Concerns for standards in new local television stations)

Conference also called for the ‘decoupling’ of funding for the  S4C channel in Wales from BBC Wales, and to ensure that overseeing the financial resources and editorial independence of the channel  is devolved to the Welsh government.

Tags: , bbc, local tv, S4C, BBC Wales, interns, broadcasting