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BECTU's BBC Divisional Committee, which has the final say on all pay negotiations affecting BBC members, has voted to carry on discussing an offer for a two-stage 20-month pay deal with BBC Resources.
The offer, proposed by the subsidiary company in their first year of independent pay bargaining, would consist of a 2.5 per cent increase in August 2001, followed by a further 2.5 per cent rise in April 2002. After that, there would be no pay negotiations in BBC Resources until 2003, when staff would receive an increase on April 1 - a date which would become the new pay anniversary for the company.
BECTU's negotiating team are now free to proceed with pay talks with BBC Resources and, if possible, will be able to reach an agreement which includes the change of pay anniversary from August to April.
Any change in the subsidiary company's pay bargaining calendar could affect annual pay talks elsewhere in the BBC. Traditionally, the technical and support staff in Resources, now numbering roughly 1200, have been covered by joint pay negotiations alongside almost 20,000 other BBC staff, with increases paid every August.
The decision of BBC Resources to follow an older BBC subsidiary, BBC Worldwide, into separate pay talks, could be followed by BBC Technology, a new company covering IT and Broadcast Technology staff which was set up last year.
BBC Technology have warned that they could split from the BBC's annual pay talks in 2002, threatening further fragmentation of the union's central bargaining arrangements at the Corporation.
The 20-month pay offer from BBC Resources came in response to a union demand for an increase equal to the inflation rate (RPI), plus a flat-rate rise of £1,000 for every member of staff.
Union negotiators asked the company to improve the first-stage offer of 2.5 per cent plus a guaranteed minimum rise of £400, in line with the response given to central BBC management when they tabled an identical offer on June 14.
When Resources replied to the pay claim on June 18, company representatives turned down the call for better night payments, arguing that night-working was not "central" to their activities.
However, the company agreed to extend the current agreement on a five or six week resettlement period for redundant staff until April 1 2002, and accepted that any renewal of special pension arrangements adopted by the BBC would apply to staff employed by BBC Resources.
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