Journalists at BBC may hold strike ballot over expenses cuts which reduce evening meal allowance to £10

Journalists at the BBC are discussing strike action over cuts to their expenses which include a reduction in the evening meal allowance for those working long shifts.

According to the National Union of Journalists there is a proposal to cut this from £16 to £10.

The NUJ said in a statement: "Staff say the cut to expenses will mean they will be subsidising the BBC from their own wages. The BBC proposed caps are less than the HMRC rates.  While journalists and technical staff face cuts to their expenses, the story is very different for management staff who receive a car allowance even if they cannot drive or do not have a car."

The change to meal allowances is said to be set to save £300,000.

The NUJ has volunteered other ways to save this money, such as by cutting senior management private medical insurance (£701,000) and senior management  car allowances (£344,139)

Sue Harris, NUJ national broadcasting officer, said: "Why should our members pick up the tab? These are legitimate expenses which staff incur as they do their jobs often during unsocial hours.

"The talks to discuss the changes of rates have been a farce and our patience has run out. Our members are angry and if the management insists on foisting this unfair deal, we will be a balloting for strike action."

The BBC is currently seeking to cut £800m from its annual budget with £80m of the figure to come from the News division.

A BBC spokesman said: "With the financial challenges the BBC is facing, it’s more important than ever to get maximum value from every penny of the licence fee. These proposals will help create a simpler, more efficient, BBC while ensuring staff are not out of pocket for the essential costs incurred in doing their jobs. These expense changes will apply to all staff, including Senior Managers. We ended car allowances and private medical insurance for new senior managers over three years ago."

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