Industrial action ballot looming at BBC

BBC bosses have been served notice that, unless there’s a reversal of planned compulsory redundancies at BBC Scotland, their staff who are members of the National Union of Journalists will be balloted for industrial action.

But instead of the week-long notice, the NUJ says it is serving a fortnight’s one in the hope that what has been a diminishing threat of compulsory redundancies will continue so that, finally, no-one is at risk. Facing losing their job are directors, producers and researchers.

Says NUJ vice-president and member of staff at BBC Scotland, Peter Murray: “In recent weeks, the BBC has cut the numbers facing compulsory redundancy, from 24 to 17 now.

“And since BBC Scotland is winning all these programme commissions, such as the Culture Show and Question Time, maybe they will realise they can’t afford to lose anyone.”

He added: “The fortnight-long notice is to give the BBC a bit more time to pursue re-deployment. But we have served the notice to show that we are serious and that it’s UK-wide industrial action we’d be asking members to vote on.”

NUJ fellow trade unions BECTU and Unite have also served notice they intend to conduct a ballot over the possible compulsory redundancies, but only among BBC Scotland-based members.

Said a BBC spokesperson: “The BBC is continuing to work very hard to minimise compulsory redundancies in BBC Scotland, and have been able to reduce the potential number to 17.

“We are trying to achieve this against a backdrop of the most severe aconomic climate in the UK, with many thousands of redundancies being announced every week in major companies.

“We have staff that the BBC’s financial position was not immune from what is happening in the economy. We’re very aware at the moment that staff are rightly more concerned about jobs rather than pay and we continue to work very hard to avoid unnecessary compulsory redundancies.”