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26 March 2012

Volunteers Must Not Replace Paid Workers At Olympics, Say BECTU

BBC looks set to stick with a volunteer scheme, as a way of covering the 2012 Olympics, despite criticism that technical and highly skilled broadcasters will be working for free.
Talks have taken place between the BBC and media union BECTU about the Corporation's plans to create 500 'volunteering' roles to enable staff across the country to play a part in delivering coverage of the Olympics.
The discussions followed concerns raised by BECTU that some of the identified roles were business critical and that some staff could find themselves working without pay in order to take part in the BBC's Olympics' operation.
BECTU believes that all BBC staff should be paid to work on the Olympics and should not be required to take annual leave in order to take part.
The BBC insists that the scheme is voluntary, that no-one will be compelled to offer their services, but that typically selected staff will use their annual leave to cover payment for their volunteering time.
"It's regrettable that the BBC will not change its position on individuals needing to take annual leave; however our approach on this has to be balanced with the real interest that BBC staff outside of broadcast critical roles have in taking part," explained Helen Ryan, supervisory official.
(LB)



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