BBC shot

The BBC said earlier this month it was 'very disappointed that the unions have decided to ballot their members'

Credit: By Coffee Lover on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Joint unions at the BBC have advised members to vote for strike action as a ballot opens today over what the unions called a "derisory" pay offer of 1 per cent.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bectu and Unite warned earlier this month that should industrial action go ahead they "will be targeting the [Queen's Diamond] Jubilee celebrations".

In January the three unions jointly issued a pay claim for BBC staff for 2012 to 2013 which asked for a rise "of RPI plus two per cent, with a minimum increase of £1,000".

BBC unions lead negotiator and general secretary of Bectu Gerry Morrissey said earlier this month that the pay offer was "insulting".

A BBC spokesperson said the broadcaster is "disappointed that unions are encouraging their members to vote for strike action in circumstances where we have been clear that we are unable to offer the 5.9 per cent pay rise they are asking for.

"The pay increase of 1 per cent is what we can afford. The economic climate remains tough for everyone and any strike action will only damage our relationship with audiences."

In a release today the NUJ's general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said the ballot for industrial action, which closes on 21 May, "is not just about a derisory pay deal" but also accused the BBC of "going back on a deal made last autumn on a redeployment scheme which has left members needlessly facing compulsory redundancy" and "an unfair appraisal scheme".

The BBC said the new appraisal scheme does not "represent a substantive change from our current system".

"In the past staff have told us that they want clear feedback from their manager on their performance and this rating system is a simple way of doing this."

In relation to redeployment the BBC added: "We have put in place a large number of measures to help our people be redeployed including a specific training fund to help people retrain."

In today's release the unions also called on BBC management to join with the union for "an urgent reinvestigation into the handling of the licence fee deal".

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