THOUSANDS of journalists, technical staff and other workers at the BBC are to be balloted for strikes in a row over pay.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bectu and Unite will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action.
The unions’ pay claim was for RPI inflation plus 3 per cent, with the BBC offering a flat-rate rise of £650. Officials argued that as well as a below-inflation offer, the corporation was planning cuts to anti-social hours payments and redundancy terms. The ballot will open on Friday and close on 4 July.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “We have had some constructive talks with Tony Hall, BBC director general, over compulsory redundancies and bullying, and established joint reviews to tackle the clear problems that have resulted as the poor implementation of the Delivering Quality First package of cuts.
“But it is, quite frankly, insulting that members are being offered such a paltry sum when the BBC always seems to be able to find cash for executive pay and can write off almost £100 million from its disastrous Digital Media Initiative.”
A BBC spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the unions are considering strike action over pay when we have made an offer to staff which means that the majority of those eligible will receive an increase of 2 per cent or more. We understand that the economic climate is tough for staff, but this is what we can afford given the savings we must make.”
Meanwhile, the director of the BBC World Service has said there will be “no cuts to output nor reductions to staff” after the government announced its funding would fall by £2.22 million.
The cut to its 2013-14 budget was announced yesterday in a written ministerial statement from the Foreign Office, which currently funds the service. The broadcaster will be funded out of the licence fee from April.