BBC's £50 pay deal hike unlikely to appease unions as strike vote looms

The BBC has increased its pay offer to its lowest-earning staff but the improved deal looks unlikely to prevent industrial action.

The corporation increased its flat-rate pay rise for all staff earning less than £60,000 from £600 to £650.

Union Bectu has said the offer is still “far too low given the decline in staff pay over years and the current level of inflation”. The broadcast union, along with the National Union of Journalists and Unite, are seeking an increase of £1,200 across the board.

The NUJ is set for a series of meetings with its members at the BBC over the next two weeks before a likely ballot on strike action early next month.

Sue Harris, broadcasting organiser at the union, told Press Gazette: “I cannot imagine the mood is going to change massively. People are not going to be wowed by an extra £50 on the table.”

But she added that the union would welcome the chance to re-open negotiations with BBC management.

“We are always open to talking more if they come back to us with something sensible.”

In an email to staff, BBC HR director Lucy Adams (who is paid £320,000 a year) said the BBC hoped the improved deal “will go some way to helping people with their costs of living this year”.

The email continued: “Everyone at the BBC is keen to avoid yet more industrial action for the sake of our audiences, so I’d encourage those of you who are union members to feedback your thoughts to your local union representatives.”

The BBC has hit by two strikes so far this year over job cuts. The walkouts affected flagship programmes such as BBC Breakfast, Newsnight and Radio 4's Today Programme.

The email also outlined changes to how the BBC’s unpredictability working allowance will be factored in to “salary progression payments” amid fears that incorporating UPA into salaries could affect pay rises. Following a consultation, the BBC has agreed that eligibility for salary progression payments this year will be determined before taking into account UPA.

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