WORKERS at the BBC are in dispute over the change of the nine o'clock news to ten o'clock. Workers in Editing Studio Operations are angry at the change and the impact on shifts covering other programmes from Breakfast News to Newsnight. BECTU union meetings have been both angry and well attended-and have taken place in a glass room in full view of the newsroom.
Years of steadily increasing workloads and arrogant management have sparked demands for shifts drawn up by workers, equal treatment for freelancers and a bonus to compensate for the huge technological changes staff are coping with. Managers have already made concessions on some issues but staff are convinced they are trying to create delays.
When they were told that managers could not meet the union over the half term holiday it inflamed anger further. Staff in news have difficulty getting holidays at all and still don't know who is working over Christmas. Resolutions have censured BECTU officials for "no disruption" agreements, and called for a speed-up of the dispute and ballot. One union member suggested that staff wear badges with the date of the ballot on them.
If no major concessions are made this week the ballot will start before the end of the month and action will take place before Christmas.