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30/06/2006

Capita staff strike at BBC

Dozens of ex-BBC staff now employed by Capita in West London have joined a one-day strike.
Bectu called for strike action today, June 30, after their new employer threatened to move them onto non-BBC work when a centralised call centre opens in Belfast.
In a secret postal ballot earlier in June 73% of union members voted to support the strike in departments like recruitment and human resources which the BBC outsourced to Capita in April.
A picket line was set up at the White City building which not only houses Capita's staff, but is also the BBC's coporate HQ while Broadcasting House in Central London is being re-built.
A key part of Capita's plan for future delivery of HR services to the BBC is the creation of a new operation in Belfast over the next 18 months, and the ex-BBC staff, mostly based in London, have called for redundancy to be offered as an option when the move takes place.
However the company has refused to contemplate redundancy, saying that staff who don't wish to relocate to Belfast will be moved to similar jobs on non-BBC contracts if they want to remain working in London. Otherwise their only option is resignation, according to Capita.
Bectu negotiator Luke Crawley said: "Capita should understand that members want to work for the BBC, directly or indirectly. They did not ask to be outsourced, and redundancy should be an option if BBC work cannot be guaranteed to them".
Crawley congratulated the members who had taken strike action, saying: "I hope both Capita and the BBC both now understand how shabbily-treated our members feel. It's up to Capita to make peace with its angry staff, under pressure from the BBC if necessary".
By lunchtime on June 30, the day of action, Capita had made no contact with Bectu, although the union emphasised that it was willing to join constructive negotiations over the issue at any time.
(GB)
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