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21/12/2000

UNIONS REACH AGREEMENT ON PEBBLE MILL

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BECTU and AEEU have accepted the BBC's plans to shut down two television studios in BBC Birmingham.
The original announcement of the closure, which was made three months before the planned move of 600 staff to a new site in Birmingham, prompted a union campaign to keep the studios open.
However, the unions decided to agree to the shutdown after a series of negotiating meetings led management to propose a package of measures easing the redundancy problems of the 90 staff affected.
Wherever possible, management agreed to accept volunteers for redundancy, and in some cases agreed to the ‘bumping’ or transfer of redundant staff between sections to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.
BECTU say that staff facing compulsory redundancy on March 31, 2001, have been given the opportunity to apply for 15 production assignment attachments, where re-training will be funded by the BBC up until three months after their last day of service.
Any BBC equipment connected with the studios that is not transferred to other areas will be offered for sale to any staff made redundant who want to continue working in a freelance capacity.
The package also covers leave entitlement, with untaken leave being paid as cash on the last day of employment. A number of staff with pension anniversaries in April will be allowed to stay on until they reach their respective service dates.
A review of the wind-down process has been promised for April 2001, when management will assess whether further measures need to be taken in Audio Unit and Broadcasting Engineering.
Despite reaching agreement on the job cuts, and the BBC's proposal to move some Pebble Mill facilities to the Mailbox development in Birmingham city centre, BECTU remain concerned that the BBC's commitment to the West Midlands region will be significantly diluted by the loss of two television studios.
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