Halt cuts or we strike - unions tell BBC

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The BBC’s three main unions are to ballot on strike action unless
plans announced this week to axe more than 400 journalists are halted.
 
Job cuts of 2,050 across the BBC’s programme-making departments were announced on Monday.
 
The unions NUJ, BECTU and AMICUS also want
guarantees against compulsory redundancies and protecting the working
conditions of staff who are outsourced.
 
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “We will
not accept cuts which decimate programmes, devalue the BBC,
short-change licence fee payers, increase pressures on staff and worsen
working conditions.
 
“Departments across the BBC struggle to fill
rotas today – how will axing 20 per cent of staff deliver better
quality or value for money for licence fee payers?
 
“The BBC management have a window of opportunity
to enter meaningful talks with staff representatives. If they slam the
window shut we will act.
 
“If BBC management won’t stand up for staff and licence-fee payers – we will.
This is a grotesque display of self-harm being inflicted across the whole of the BBC at the hands of an incompetent management”.
 
In a joint statement the three unions have asked for the following guarantees from BBC management:
 
“A 90-day moratorium on any further attempts to
progress the redundancies at any level, including attempts to identify
volunteers. During the period of the moratorium, existing staffing
levels must be maintained, including the extension of all fixed term
contracts and filling in behind attachments. In the meantime the BBC
must begin meaningful consultation with the Joint Unions about why
these post closures are necessary. This must include discussions on the
future shape of the Corporation and a detailed explanation of how the
BBC expects the existing level of work to be done in the future with
3,780 fewer staff.
 
“No compulsory redundancies. Any post closures
must be achieved by natural wastage and voluntary redundancies, with no
right for the management to pick and choose who should go. Any
reduction in staffing levels must not result in an increased workload
for staff who remain. The phasing of any redundancies should be
changed, and a comprehensive redeployment package should be agreed to
minimise any job losses and provide the maximum opportunity for
retraining existing staff.”
 
The statement also said: “We are opposed to
outsourcing our members’ jobs but if it is to go ahead then the BBC
must agree to write into all tender documents protection of terms,
conditions, pensions and employment, no less favourable than those
agreed for the sale of BBC Technology to Siemens.
 
“We call on the BBC to bring forward their
proposals for the future of the global news division including World
Service, Monitoring and BBC World.
We expect a positive response from the BBC by Monday 4th April failing
that we will register a failure to agree and move to an industrial
action ballot.”

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