BECTU members vote for strike action at BBC News

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The BBC's news bases in London (pictured) and Salford are set to face industrial action over job cuts and compulsory redundancies in September 2014.

1 September 2014

BECTU members facing job cuts at BBC News have today (1 September) voted for strike action. Of those voting 68% (two-thirds) voted for strike action; the majority vote was higher still, at 84%, in support of action short of strike.

Union members have been voting since early August; 36% of BECTU members eligible to take part did so. 

London and Salford

The members affected, based both in London and Salford, are resisting the proposal to cut 415 jobs and the threat of compulsory redundancies.

There is the promise that 195 new jobs will be created but so far the BBC has failed to guarantee that these new opportunities will mean that compulsory redundancies can be avoided.

BECTU is clear that these new posts should be used to redeploy staff who would otherwise face the sack.

BBC management has also rejected BECTU's claim for a freeze on external recruitment until the redundancies are resolved.

The BBC's inflexiblity is even more inexplicable given the high levels of interest amongst News division staff in voluntary severance. At a formal meeting with BECTU and NUJ officials last week, BBC News management confirmed that more than 470 staff in News had expressed a firm interest in voluntary redundancy. 

Assistant general secretary, Luke Crawley, said:

“Given that the BBC has over 470 volunteers for redundancy and 195 new posts to fill it would be easy to give us the guarantees we are seeking. The fact that management refuses to do so raise fears amongst staff that the BBC is not committed to redeploying the maximum number of staff.

"The BBC should realise that rather than making redundancy payments to people who want to continue working for the BBC, licence fee payers’ money should be saved by redeploying staff elsewhere in the corporation.”

BECTU's fellow union the NUJ has also balloted its members returning positive votes in favour of strike action. 

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