The NUJ, Bectu and Unite have rejected the BBC’s offer of a 1 per cent pay rise.
The BBC insists the proposal is ‘realistic in the tough economic climate”, ensures a minimum increase of £400 for the lowest paid staff and is fair to workers who have had their pay frozen over the last three years.
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It said the union’s demand for a rise equivalent to a 5.9 per cent was ‘unrealistic”. In an email sent to all staff yesterday the BBC’s director of business operations Lucy Adams said that staff earning over £60,000 had not had a pay rise for three years and had seen their pay slashed in real terms by 12 per cent.
‘It feels neither sustainable nor fair to impose this on them for another year,’she said. Adams also confirmed that the bonus freeze for senior managers will continue for at least another year.
Explaining the reasoning behind the proposals, she told staff: ‘Within the BBC we are all still working through our plans to achieve savings of £700m per year by 2016/17.
‘All our dvisions are going through tough and painful restructuring and savings programmes that are leading to job losses. Externally, there is a very tough economic climate – one in which many of our licence fee payers have seen their pay frozen over the last few years.”
At yesterday’s meeting the unions asked for an increase of inflation plus 2 per cent, which Adams claimed was equivalent to a pay rise of 5.9 per cent. ‘We feel this is unrealistic in the current economic climate,’she said.
‘The deal on the table is as much as we can afford and we won’t be able to change this through negotiation. We felt it was better to be straight with you and the unions rather than go in with an artificially low offer for negotiating purposes.”
She added: ‘I am sure that many of you will have hoped for a larger pay rise. It would be great if we could make one, but we have to live within our means, and that means we have no room for manoeuvre.”
The NUJ, Bectu and Unite said they now plan to consult branches and chapels across the BBC and expect ‘strong opposition’to the offer, claiming that by August this year the BBC’s median pay rate would have fallen 8 per cent behind inflation over the past five years.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Given all the sacrifices that BBC staff have made in the last year it is insulting to be offered a rise that falls three per cent short of the current inflation figure.”
Bectu’s general secretary Gerry Morrissey said the pay offer was a ‘clear attempt by the BBC to make staff pay for last year’s The NUJ, Bectu and Unite have rejected the BBC’s offer of a 1 per cent pay rise offer.
‘We cannot accept a further cut in living standards for members, when the BBC has already taken tens of millions of pounds out of staffing costs by cutting 4,000 jobs, and watering down pension rights,” he said.
The unions said that in addition to the inflation plus 2 per cent request they also called for a minimum increase of £1,000 ‘to help the increasing number of BBC staff at the bottom of the pay scale who are struggling to make ends meet as inflation continues rising”.