BBC UNIONS are set to ballot for strike action unless director general Mark Thompson halts plans to slash 3,700 jobs.
Reps from the NUJ, Bectu and Amicus unions have issued an ultimatum to BBC bosses calling for a halt to job losses, a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and protection of the working conditions of staff who are outsourced.
The unions will ballot if management refuses to meet their demands by a deadline of next Monday 4 April. The demands include a 90-day moratorium on any attempts to take forward redundancies, such as identifying volunteers for redundancy.
During the moratorium period, existing staffing levels must be maintained and all fixed term contracts extended, the unions said.
Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ journalists’ union, said, “Departments across the BBC struggle to fill rotas today — how will axing 20 percent of staff deliver better quality or value for money for licence fee payers?”
Bectu assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey said, “Mark Thompson is out of touch, and has lost the confidence of his staff.”
He added, “If the BBC fails to consult properly and presses ahead with compulsory redundancies and privatisation, the unions will lead their members out the door.”
The news of Mark Thompson’s job cuts was met with stunned silence in the Glasgow newsroom, as in BBC offices across the country.
That silence has now turned to anger. We face losing 42 staff members, the newsroom wouldn’t be able to function with those that would be left.
Those keeping their jobs would face an impossible workload.
I’m sure our experience is mirrored across BBC centres as one in five staff face the axe.
Make no mistake these cuts will destroy public service broadcasting.
It’s about handing over ever greater chunks of the license fee to profit making independent companies.
It’s about punishing BBC News after the Hutton report. And it’s about driving down conditions in one of the few media organisations with strong unions.
This is our Wapping. See you on the picket line.
BBC Scotland Worker
Journalists at Express Newspapers have voted to strike after rejecting a 3.3 percent pay rise. The NUJ union was set to give notice of industrial action this week. And journalists in the NUJ at the Telegraph were waiting for the results of a strike ballot, called over 90 redundancies as Socialist Worker went to press.
TECHNICIANS’ UNION Bectu is set to announce dates for strikes after Easter, following a 55 percent vote to strike.
Two weeks ago ITV plc announced pre-tax profits of £340 million after a year of major cuts and restructuring. The pay offer is just 3.3 percent.
The company exceeded its savings targets by 20 percent making cuts of £120 million.
Gerry Morrissey, the union’s assistant general secretary, said, “It is unacceptable that ITV executives award themselves huge share bonuses but will not give their workers a decent pay rise.”
The pay dispute involves several hundred broadcasting, production and studio staff at ITV centres in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Norwich, Birmingham and Nottingham and could hit flagship TV programmes.
The Amicus union is also expected to ballot its ITV members for industrial action.