BBC strike called off after all-night talks

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The Independent Online

A planned 48-hour strike by thousands of BBC journalists and technicians next week was called off today, after a breakthrough during marathon all-night talks.

Union leaders and managers from the corporation spent 20 hours at the London head office of the conciliation service, Acas, trying to break the deadlock in a row over controversial plans to axe 4,000 jobs.

Leaders of Bectu, the National Union of Journalists, and Amicus said the BBC made a revised offer which involved "significant movement" on the threat of compulsory redundancies and on the outsourcing of jobs.

The new offer will be put to a meeting of workers next Tuesday, but without any recommendation from the unions.

In the meantime, a 48-hour strike due to start on Tuesday, has been cancelled.

It is understood some of the union officials left the offices of Acas during the night for a meeting with BBC Director General, Mark Thompson.

The three unions said in a joint statement: "Following 20 hours of negotiations at Acas with BBC management and separate face-to-face negotiations with Director General Mark Thompson, the BBC unions have agreed to put the Corporation's latest proposal to a meeting of representatives on Tuesday. The unions are not recommending acceptance of this proposal.

"However, in order to allow for proper consideration and as a gesture of goodwill, the planned strikes on May 31 and June 1 have been suspended.

"Management has made significant concessions regarding privatisation but has failed adequately to address concerns over job losses.

"The unions reserve the right to give notice of further strike action should the proposal be rejected by representatives."

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