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27/10/2000

BECTU SUSPEND BALLOT ON BBC EDUCATION

BECTU have suspended a strike ballot in BBC Education after management clarified their final offer.
The ballot was to be run in protest at plans to split up BBC Education and move staff to more general production departments after talks broke down on October 5 without agreement between the union and management.
BECTU gave notice to the BBC that a strike ballot would run, but before voting papers were sent out management wrote to the union clarifying their final position. Union officials believed that the commitments made in the letter needed to be discussed with members in the area before starting the ballot, which has been suspended as a result.
Education management are willing to set up an external review group, including educationalists and academics, to monitor the effectiveness of BBC Education programming after the reorganisation.
They will also set aside funds for the re-training of Education staff in order to equip them for a move into multi media delivery of educational material.
Management will guarantee that staff who are moved from Education into their other departments will continue to specialise in educational programming and will be asked to work on other output during their down time.
They have also confirmed that no redundancies are foreseen in the next year for Education staff, while emphasising that this is a genuine prediction but not a cast-iron guarantee.
May of the points clarified by management were a reiteration of statements made in the course of a number of meetings with the union, but the letter represented a coherent response to all the union’s concerns about the reorganisation.
Meetings with members are due to be set up over the next few weeks, after which the union will reply to management.
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