BBC Scotland facing risk of industrial action over Festive period

UPDATE: The meeting decided to wait until the outcome of the BBC’s attempts to redeploy staff, as described below. The chapel next convenes on the 18th. In the meantime, it agreed to boycott staff performance appraisals.

BBC SCOTLAND faces the prospect of industrial action over the Festive period should it fail to redeploy staff facing compulsory redundancy.

This afternoon, the National Union of Journalists’ chapel at BBC Scotland is meeting to discuss what, if anything, it should do in the wake of an UK-wide ballot of NUJ members, the results of which were announced on Friday.

In protest to the threat of compulsory job cuts, a 37.7 per cent turnout voted 70.3 per cent in favour of strike action and 84.1 per cent in favour of industrial action short of strike action.

As it happens, says the NUJ, Scotland is the only part of the BBC where there is currently a threat of compulsory redundancy. In August, it was announced that 35 posts (17 of which are editorial posts) had been earmarked for redundancy at BBC Scotland, because of budget cutbacks following a decision – two years ago, between the BBC and the Westminster government – to freeze the TV licence fee for six years.

This week, a handful of BBC Scotland staff – including editorial staff – are appealing the threat of compulsory redundancy.

Says the Scottish Organiser of the NUJ, Paul Holleran, a meeting last week – involving the NUJ, fellow trade union, BECTU, and the BBC – ended with BBC Scotland saying it would make every effort to redeploy staff  by the beginning of next week.

Should the NUJ chapel at BBC Scotland today decide to await the outcome of that process, it would mean that, were there to be an immediate call for action (and taking into account a mandatory notice period), it would fall across the Festive period.

Said a BBC Scotland spokesperson: “We are working closely with the trade unions to find redeployment opportunities where we can.”

The Herald’s coverage on Saturday of the ballot result has since been updated online, to reflect a correction this morning in the newspaper that says the ballot involved NUJ members of the BBC workforce, not the BBC workforce in its entirety.