Two-day strike at BBC is called off

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The Independent Online

The BBC could face fresh strikes despite the decision to call off next week's 48-hour walkout, union leaders warned.

Opinion was said to be divided on whether to accept concessions made by management in talks which ended early yesterday.

As a "gesture of goodwill'', leaders of journalists and technicians cancelled a two-day stoppage planned for next Tuesday, but they refused to recommend the new BBC proposals.

Around 50 representatives of the National Union of Journalists, Amicus and the technicians' union, Bectu, will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether to accept new concessions from management.

The union leaders said that there had been "significant movement'' by the BBC over its controversial plan to axe 4,000 jobs.

During the 20 hours of talks at the London head office of the conciliation service Acas, some union officials left to attend talks with Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, at which new proposals were tabled to avert the strike.

Union sources said he had offeredconcessions on privatisation of the BBC Resources department and terms and conditions of employees at BBC Broadcast would be protected. Most importantly there was a guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies for at least 14 months.Employees' representatives said the breakthrough came after the intervention of Mr Thompson. "Up till then there was no sign of any major concession," a source said.