Television

BBC reaches agreement with British trade unions

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MUMBAI: After extensive talks, UK pubcaster the BBC and British trade unions BECTU, NUJ and Unite have reached an agreement in principle in the current dispute. The pubcaster has, therefore, been able to avoid a strike. The unions had threatened strike action over plans to close 2,500 posts and make up to 1,800 staff redundant.

The agreement is subject to acceptance by a consultative ballot of the joint unions' membership.

All the parties welcome the progress made so far on jobs, allowances and pensions, and will continue to work together to achieve an acceptable final settlement.

BBC People director Stephen Kelly said, "The negotiations with the trade unions have been very constructive, given the complexity of the issues and the BBC's financial position. We are hopeful that the proposed agreement will settle the dispute and enable the BBC to make the necessary changes required for the benefit of our audiences."

BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey said, "This set of negotiations with the BBC has been particularly difficult given the financial constraints on the BBC and the number of areas targeted for cuts, all of which impact significantly on many staff. After extensive talks overnight, we have an agreement in principle which we hope will pave the way for a final settlement of the dispute. Talks in BBC Vision will continue up until the opening of a consultative ballot in March."

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said, "We're pleased the imminent threat of compulsory redundancies has been addressed and that all staff required to work unpredictable hours will continue to get a fair deal. These negotiations now give us a basis on which we can address further changes proposed by the BBC."

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