Strike could affect BBC TV coverage

BBC television could face disruption after members of production union Bectu voted in favour of strike action, in protest at the sale of the corporation’s technology arm.

Four out of five workers at BBC Technology voted to strike the day after the sale of the department to German IT services giant Siemens was announced. They voiced concerns over job cuts and the retention of terms and conditions that applied at the BBC.

The union said the transfer date of 1 September was too early and would prevent proper negotiations from taking place.

BBC Technology is responsible for transmitting live feeds as well as webbased technical support. It also runs the Freeview digital terrestrial television service and the central communications operation that handles news circuits in and out of BBC Television Centre in West London.

A strike could disrupt next month’s coverage of the Olympics in Athens.

Bectu was set to give BBC Technology notice of industrial action this week.

The BBC sold the department to save between £20m and £30m annually, which will continue supporting the BBC’s technical requirements under a 10-year service contract.

The decision to sell BBC Technology was sanctioned by former directorgeneral Greg Dyke, but its fallout was one of the first major items in recently appointed Mark Thompson’s in-tray.

By Wale Azeez

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