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02/07/2001

BBC MEMBERS VOTE ON 3PER CENT FINAL OFFER

BECTU and NUJ members are voting on an improved pay offer from the BBC.
After a month of negotiations, management tabled a final offer to BBC and BBC Technology staff of a 3 per cent rise, with a minimum increase of £500 p.a.
The offer will run for 12 months from the settlement date of August 1, and includes an increase of £1.14 per hour in night payments from midnight to 0400. All associated payments like overtime rates and the Christmas/New Year premium will be raised by 3 per cent, along with the floors and ceilings of the BBC's 11-band pay structure.
BECTU and the NUJ will be advising members that the offer is the best that can be achieved through negotiation, and represents a significant shift from the BBC's opening bid of a 2.3 per cent increase when negotiations began.
Members working for BBC Resources, a wholly-owned subsidiary company which began separate pay bargaining this year, are also due to vote on a 3 per cent increase from August 2001, with the same improvement in night payments as the central BBC.
However, the company have offered a two-stage 20-month pay deal which includes a further increase of 2.5 per cent in April 2002, together with a £100 flat rate payment. April would then become the fixed anniversary date for BBC Resources staff, and no further increase would be negotiated until April 2003.
Despite concerns about the impact of a new BBC Resources pay date on overall BBC pay bargaining, BECTU will be recommending that members should accept the 20-month offer in their postal ballot.
In identical pay claims, submitted in April, the unions demanded that the BBC and BBC Resources should offer increases equal to inflation plus £1,000 to each member of staff, along with significant improvements in night pay.
Negotiators warned managers that hopes of a generous settlement had been raised by the BBC's 4.8 per cent licence increase and figures indicating that the going rate of public sector settlements was well above inflation.
The BBC responded with an opening offer of 2.3 per cent, which was gradually inched up through 2.5 per cent and then 2.7 per cent in the course of negotiations. Under a union threat of ballots for industrial action, the BBC raised their final offer from 2.7 per cent to 3.0 per cent, which negotiators believe is the best offer that the Corporation is prepared to table.
BBC Resources agreed to match the BBC's headline percentage offer, in the face of BECTU's warning that company staff would not accept anything less than their colleagues in other parts of the Corporation.
A condition of the Resources offer is that BECTU will enter discussions about a new pay and reward system for the company, which management hope to introduce in April 2003.
(CD)
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