NUJ submits ‘dispute letter’ in protest at BBC redundancy process

A LETTER formally registering an objection to the way the BBC Scotland is seeking to make people redundant has been submitted by the National Union of Journalists as a possible first step towards a strike ballot.

Without enough people volunteering for redundancy, as part of plans to cut 35 posts at BBC Scotland – as reported in August – is having to consider compulsory redundancy.

And it is this that the NUJ is objecting to. Following a meeting with BBC Scotland staff yesterday, the union has submitted a ‘dispute letter’ to the BBC Scotland’s head of human resources.

Says the letter to Wendy Aslett: “At the NUJ chapel meeting… it was agreed without opposition to put the ‘Selection for Retention’ process into dispute immediately.”

It is understood BBC Scotland has received 15 applications for voluntary redundancy.

This latest round of job cuts are part of an ongoing process of reducing staff numbers following an agreement two years ago between the BBC and the Westminster government to freeze the TV licence fee for six years – resulting in an annual 16 per cent budget cut having to be implemented at BBC Scotland.

A motion at the meeting, which was passed, read: “This chapel has no faith in the Selection for Retention process, believes members are being intimidated and targeted and moves to put the process into formal dispute.”

The letter – from Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish Organiser, goes on: “We expect all the interviews related to this to be put on hold until a fair and equitable system is agreed and put in place.”

A spokesperson for BBC Scotland said: “We recognise that our savings targets are challenging and we’re committed to achieving as many as possible through voluntary means. We’ve had a number of constructive meetings with unions and we believe that our process is fair and reasonable. We have offered to meet union representatives again this week to discuss their concerns.”