BBC rejects NUJ claims about HR dirty tricks and email hacking

The BBC has dismissed as “false and without foundation” accusations that it was behind a “dirty tricks” campaign to smear National Union of Journalist members at the corporation.

Among a series of claims from the NUJ was one accusing the BBC of hacking into emails of union officers.

It also said staff were “bullied into spying” on colleagues, while some union members were forced out of jobs on “trumped-up charges”.

The NUJ called on the BBC to launch an investigation into practices, which it claims were revealed in “a sworn statement” from a former member of the HR department.

At a meeting today, NUJ reps voted unanimously in favour of a motion demanding a probe into what it described as “the shadowy Management Reference Group”. 

The BBC has categorically denied the allegations which come on the same day that HR boss Lucy Adams revealed she was stepping down.

A spokesman for the corporation said the NUJ's suggestion that the BBC "hacked emails or authorised anyone else to" or that a member of staff "authorised any smear campaign against any BBC staff" is "false and without foundation".

The said: "It is extremely disappointing that these allegations have been made by the NUJ when they cannot be substantiated. BBC management remains committed to working with the NUJ but today's actions make that significantly harder and that benefits no one."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This tale of dirty tricks at the BBC would win a BAFTA as a television series. But as a way of treating hard working staff at our public service broadcaster it is an utter disgrace.

“This evidence shows there has been a long-term strategy at the BBC to destroy the working relationship between BBC staff, their management and their unions.

"It is shocking that BBC executives resorted to union-busting tactics that included hacking into staff emails, making employees spy on colleagues and inventing trumped up charges to force people out of their jobs. The obvious conclusion is that the BBC’s pension changes, together with the misuse of performance management techniques, were used simply as a ruse to get rid of experienced staff.

“The endless revelations in recent months have exposed the poison at the heart of BBC management. Tony Hall must now ensure that proper industrial relations are restored and that his staff are treated fairly and with respect. He can start by ensuring those responsible for this huge breach of trust are dealt with.”

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