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27/05/2005

BBC dispute on hold as unions consider offer

A planned 48-hour stoppage at the BBC has been called off while unions consult members on a new peace offer.
The offer was tabled by the BBC management during 20 hours of talks hosted by government conciliation service ACAS on Thursday 26th May.
Included in the offer are: a one year moratorium on compulsory redundancies; a framework for discussions which might ‘mitigate’ job cuts in 2006 and 2007; an assurance that by June 10 staff in BBC Broadcast will have clear guarantees from the company’s would-be new owners that terms, conditions, and pension rights, would be protected if the company is sold off and the postponement for at least two years of plans to privatise BBC Resources, including its Outside Broadcast business unit.
This offer was conditional on the tree unions involved suspending strike action on 31st May and 1st June.
The planned stoppage has been called off and union representatives from BECTU, NUJ, and Amicus plan to meet in London on Tuesday 31st May to consider the offer, which will be presented by negotiators without any recommendation. If the meeting approves the offer, a full ballot of the three unions’ members at the BBC is likely to follow. However, rejection of the offer would lead to the announcement of further dates for industrial action to continue a campaign of stoppages that began with a one-day strike on 23rd May.
A statement made by the BBC said: “The joint unions are not recommending acceptance of these proposals, however in order for proper consideration, and as a gesture of goodwill, the planned strikes on 31st May and 1st June have been suspended.”
Union negotiators made little comment about the offer as they left ACAS in the early hours on 27th May, emphasising that any decision on running ballots of members would be made by representatives on 31st May.
(CD/SP)
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