BBC unions make fresh strike threat

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Unions have warned the BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, that they will call for more strikes if the public service broadcaster tries again to make compulsory redundancies.

Unions have warned the BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, that they will call for more strikes if the public service broadcaster tries again to make compulsory redundancies.

On Friday, the BBC announced an agreement with the broadcasting union Bectu and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which agreed to call off strikes planned for this week.

Mr Thompson promised there would be a 12-month "moratorium" on the compulsory redundancies proposed after he announced more than 4,000 job cuts. He also announced that the cuts would be reviewed next year.

However, it is understood that, in private talks in the early hours of Friday morning, the NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and Bectu assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey warned Mr Thompson that the threat of more industrial action had not been lifted. They also made it clear that the unions had not changed their stance in opposing any compulsory redundancies as a matter of principle.

Unions hope that the BBC will be able to make the job cuts through voluntary redundancy and natural wastage. But the scale of the cuts - one in seven jobs are planned to go - makes this unlikely.

Unions are not concerned that Mr Thompson will break his word. But their stance makes more industrial action, of the kind that saw news programmes off the air last Monday, likely once the moratorium has expired.

A union source said: "Next summer the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be looking over Mark Thompson's shoulder. We will have more information about any planned compulsory cuts. We would be in a stronger position if we needed to go on strike again. We're prepared to do this."

This week the unions will meet to formally discuss the BBC offer.

Comments