9 January Resources trawl delay

Management have agreed to postpone the planned BBC Resources trawl for redundancy volunteers until at least 9 January 2009.

Picture of Television Centre

BBC Television Centre, West London. (Picture: Tony Scott)

The increased timetable will allow further discussion with BECTU on a number of issues that the union believes will have an influence on individual decisions to volunteer.

The union successfully argued that in Bristol and Birmingham, there was a TUPE situation in which the work of staff facing redundancy would continue to be done inside the BBC.

As a result, the proposal for Post Production staff on these two sites is a TUPE transfer into the BBC, with the option of volunteering for redundancy before the transfer occurs.

Included in the proposal for Bristol and Birmingham is the provision for redundant staff to undertake work for the BBC as freelancers after leaving Resources Ltd, subject to an appropriate gap as required by the tax authorities. This relaxes the BBC’s rule requiring a 12-month hiatus on being re-hired after redundancy.

In London, however a request for a similar provision is still under discussion – while BBC Resources Ltd seems content to use redundant staff as freelancers after they leave, the BBC itself is determined that the 12-month rule should apply to non-Resources departments like BBC Vision.

The union fears that this may deter some staff, particularly in Post Production, from volunteering for redundancy, and has made strenuous efforts to win the waiving of the rule, with no success to date.

There is at least one area in London where a TUPE situation clearly exists – Current Operations within Post Production which is planned to close down.

The BBC has acknowledged that TUPE may apply, since most of the work the department is doing will continue somewhere in the Corporation, but there are no details yet as to the number of posts that may be appropriate to transfer back into the BBC.

Management have accepted that the six-month minimum notice period for redundancy which applies to areas which close completely, cannot be deemed to have started in Current Operations until the TUPE situation has been clarified, which they say is likely to consist of the approval of a finance case within BBC Information & Archives.

Talks have begun over other post closures in London – the next meeting with Studios management will be on January 5th, and with Post Production on January 6th. Dates for local meetings in Bristol and Birmingham are still to be confirmed.

A second meeting with company senior management will be held on January 9th, by when the union hopes that the position on the various issues listed above will be clear. Further developments before the first week of January are very unlikely, but there will be more to report after the meeting on 9 January.

For Resources staff who are taking time off over the Christmas/New Year period, we appreciate how unsettling it will be to have the prospect of voluntary or compulsory redundancies hanging over you.

However, the union is trying to ensure that:

  • The number of redundancies is reduced wherever possible.
  • Individuals have all the information they need to make a decision about volunteering.
  • That all job cuts are voluntary if possible.

BECTU will be arranging further meetings for members to hear directly from the negotiating team, and dates will follow in early January.

Filed under: BBC Studios and Post Production, News

Tags: , ,

Posted Tuesday 23 December 2008 at 1633