By a Newsnet reporter
BBC staff are to go on strike on the day of the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, it has been announced.
Journalists and technicians will walk out at midday on July 23rd, the day the games begin, and will not return to their posts until midnight. A work to rule will start from midnight Thursday 24 July, coupled with an appraisals boycott.
The strike follows a vote by BECTU, NUJ and Unite members over a dispute over pay.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The decisive turnout and result clearly demonstrates that journalists across the BBC are not prepared to put up with paltry pay deals any longer, while those running the corporation continue to enjoy their lavish salary and perks at the same time as dishing out lectures about the need for staff to ‘get austerity’.”
Stanistreet accused the corporation of awarding “lavish salaries for managers and jobs for their mates,” and called for an executive pay cap of £150,000.
The NUJ official also called for an increase in the licence fee, currently £145.50 for a year, in order she said to allow the BBC to thrive.
She added: “NUJ members want the BBC executive to robustly campaign for a decent licence fee settlement that will secure the future of the public service broadcaster and allow it to thrive. Death by a thousand cuts – with many more hundreds of damaging job losses set to be announced this week – is no future at all for the BBC.”
Stanistreet warned that staff were prepared to take further strike action if the union’s demands were not met.
Echoing the words of the NUJ official was BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey, who said: “BBC rank and file staff are appalled at once again finding themselves at the back of the queue when managers sit down to review pay.
He added: “Whilst BBC staff cherish the organisation they work for and have every respect for the licence fee payer, they have the same challenges as everyone else. They have to make ends meet and are entitled to expect that the value of their pay will be at least maintained.”
The shock announcement, which will hit coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games ceremony and may affect coverage of the Games itself, comes at a difficult time for the BBC in Scotland. The opening ceremony for Glasgow 2014 will take place between 9pm and 11pm on Wednesday, July 23 at Celtic Park and is scheduled to be broadcast by the BBC.
Management at Pacific Quay, BBC Scotland’s HQ, are already under fire over their handling of the independence referendum which has seen hundreds demonstrate outside the Glasgow building.