NUJ withdraws BBC union-busting claims from website after legal warning

A report from the National Union of Journalists about alleged union-busting tactics at the BBC has been withdrawn from the union’s website in the wake of a legal warning.

The NUJ issued a press release on Friday afternoon making extensive claims which it said were based on the testimony of a whistleblower. It emerged on Thursday that BBC human resources director Lucy Adams was to step down.

The union claimed that BBC management spied on union officials, that it “hacked” into the emails of union representatives and that “trumped up charges” were used to “force union members from their jobs”.

According to the NUJ, reps for the union unanimously agreed the following motion: “This meeting welcomes the resignation of Lucy Adams, who headed up the shadowy Management Reference Group set up to force these changes through, and is the person who must bear responsibility for the abuses that have happened under her leadership and within her own department.

“It further demands that a full investigation now takes place and that Lucy Adams is suspended in accordance with BBC procedure.

“In the light of these revelations and the knowledge that the ACAS settlement talks were tarnished and compromised, this meeting insists that the BBC pension negotiations are urgently re-opened, carried out in good faith and a legitimate settlement reached.”

The BBC responded to the NUJ claims with the following statement: “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."

There followed a second statement put out by the BBC on behalf of Lucy Adams. It said: “I totally reject the claims that have been made against me by the NUJ today. There is no truth in them whatsoever and they are highly defamatory. This is an unwarranted and very personal attack and I have instructed a lawyer to take matters further.”

The NUJ initial press release was also published as a report on the union’s website which was taken down over the weekend.

A spokesman for the NUJ said that the story had been taken down from the union's website on legal advice.

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