NUJ and BBC reach redundancies deal

The NUJ and BBC have reached a final agreement which will end the threat of strike action over possible compulsory redundancies in the latest round of cuts.

Unions at the BBC voted in favour of strike action after the BBC announced that it intended to cut 1,800 jobs along with proposed changes to employment terms and conditions, and pensions.

After through-the-night talks in January, the BBC and the joint unions – broadcasting union Bectu, the National Union of Journalists, and Unite – announced they had reached agreement, in principle, in the current dispute, which was subject to acceptance by a consultative ballot of the joint unions’ membership.

The deal has now been approved by members of the unions in a postal ballot.

After a meeting last week of NUJ representatives at the BBC they passed a motion stating: ‘The BBC has become an increasingly stressful working environment as a direct result of job losses under the Value for Money and Creative Futures cuts.

We note with alarm that workloads have increased substantially on many members, in some cases to an unacceptable level.”

In the statement of agreement, the unions confirmed a new policy for managing reorganisation and redundancies. Both sides agreed to maintain secure employment for BBC employees where possible, but the BBC is to determine which employees it must retain to ‘meet business needs”.

Any staff being made redundant before 31 March, 2010, will be given at least five months’ notice.

The BBC has also agreed that a minimum of 12 per cent of staff who have been ‘displaced’will be found a job elsewhere in the BBC.

Under the deal, BBC employees will have to increase their payments into the BBC pension scheme from six per cent of pay-in steps, to 7.5 per cent from 2010.

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