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BBC workers to be balloted for strikes

Three unions are to ask their BBC members whether they support strike action over the proposed cuts at the corporation.

The NUJ, Bectu and Unite say programmes could be severely disrupted if industrial action goes ahead – likely to be in December.

Journalists, technicians and other staff will vote on 4th November whether they are to strike over plans to cut 2,000 jobs, change working terms and conditions and reduce programme budgets. The proposals under the BBC’s DQF programme aim to save £670m a year by 2016-17.

The result of the ballot isn’t expected until late November.

In an email to all staff, BBC Business Operations Director Lucy Adams said that the corporation was committed to dialogue with both the unions and staff but that it would be impossible for the BBC to agree to all of their demands – including that no formal consultations on redundancy begin before the end of 2011.

“We cannot put the situation on hold until 2017 or later,” she wrote. “Not only is there the ongoing financial cost to the BBC but staff have told us they feel UPA (Unpredictability Allowance) is not applied fairly and they want it tackled. The many failed past attempts to reform UPA have led to the complicated and unfair system we have today.”

She added: “We remain committed to consulting fully on the proposals with both the unions and staff however we don’t believe that these issues can simply be kicked into the long grass and put off for another 5 years.”

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