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18/12/2000

NEW TIMETABLE FOR BBC DISPUTE TALKS

NEW negotiations are being set up to resolve the jobs and conditions dispute in BBC Resources.
The move came during five hours of discussions between union and management following the one-day strike on December 2 by staff in London TV Studios, OBs, Post Production and Graphics.
BECTU say that faced with an indefinite work to rule from January 1, if no agreement could be reached on plans to save £12 million, management in London Operations agreed to re-open talks on scheduling, late night and early morning transport, acting payments, new job descriptions, and a reorganisation of Studio Engineering.
Meetings are being scheduled in the week before Christmas, and management have also promised to respond to the union’s demand that they should drop plans to cut payments for travel in London and turns of duty involving long hours or short breaks.
BECTU confirmed that current proposals for no travel payments within 15 miles of base, and scrapping of reward for days over 12 hours or breaks less than 11, were unacceptable to members.
Compulsory redundancies were also highlighted by BECTU as a major issue that could prevent the union agreeing to the savings plan. Up to ten staff have been threatened with dismissal after going through a selection redundancy process, and more than 40 in Studio Management section have been given notice of redundancy due to the closure of their department.
Internal discussions within the BBC about the future supply of Studio Floor Managers, Assistant Floor Managers and Floor Assistants to TV programmes were recently revived, and London Operations management are still waiting to hear if production departments are willing to fund some of them directly by retaining them on permanent contracts.
Earlier efforts to preserve Studio Management were dashed when production areas turned down proposals to keep the department going, and the union have demanded direct discussions with senior programme-makers if the talks fail for a second time.
BECTU’s threat of a work-to-rule from January 1is now dependent on the position London Operations management adopt over the status quo, if existing agreements continue beyond the New Year the work-to-rule will be postponed.
Management have promised to confirm their view of the status quo early in the week beginning December 18.
If the revived round of discussions leads to significant new proposals from management, the union expects to re-ballot members before the end of January 2001.
(CD)
VMI.TV Ltd

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