BBC's offer of 1% pay rise for staff labelled 'unfair' and could be rejected

BBC Broadcasting House in Marylebone, London

BBC staff have been offered a pay rise of 1 per cent following an internal review, but an inside source has called it “unfair” and said there may be an appetite for strike action down the line.

Those eligible include any UK-based employees in pay grades two to 11 for whom the rise will mean a minimum pay increase of £400. It does not include senior management.

An email sent out to staff, seen by Press Gazette, said: “This minimum amount means that increases are weighted more towards our lower paid staff.”

It added: “A number of factors have been considered in determining what we feel is an appropriate pay award.

“We are operating within challenging financial constraints and our finances continue to be under close scrutiny.”

The offer is the most payable under the public sector pay cap of 1 per cent. If approved by union members it will come into effect from 1 August but is not expected to be in pay packets until October.

Press Gazette understands the National Union of Journalists had asked for a rise of 3 per cent tied to a minimum increase of £1,000.

A BBC insider said there was “real annoyance” among staff that it comes after pay increases of more than £150,000 for senior managers, revealed by the Guardian, two weeks ago.

Among those to benefit was the BBC’s chief technology officer, Matthew Postgate, who got a rise of £70,000 taking his pay to £302,000.

Charlotte More received nearly £30,000 after being promoted from BBC One controller to head of the corporation’s TV channels and iPlayer.

Mark Linsey, former acting head of TV, saw his pay rise by almost £60,000 to £340,000 following a promotion to head of the BBC Studios (although his predecessor had a salary of £375,000).

The source added: “If there were seen to be cuts at the top, staff might accept it. It isn’t a case of ‘take it off the bosses and give it to the rest of us’ it’s just seen as an imbalance.

“There’s too much pay at the top for management and not enough investment in frontline staff – the journalists and programme makers – which is what the business is about.”

They added the cuts were being made while perks including car allowances and private healthcare were still being paid out for senior managers.

A recent FOI revealed the BBC paid a total of £1,171,866 in car allowances to 216 individuals, of which 206 were Senior Managers and 10 who are now no longer senior management staff but have retained the perk, in the year to 31 March.

A consultative ballot is being held over the offer. If rejected by NUJ and Bectu members it could lead to a statutory ballot that could in turn lead to strike action, said the source.

 

The BBC’s offer is linked to a joint review of the BBC’s terms and conditions of employment, said to be in need of “modernising”, with joint union discussions due to conclude by the end of the second quarter of 2017.

Any changes to working conditions would be subject to consultations and ballots with union members.

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