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Legal threat halts second proposed BBC Tech strike

Beeb blocks walk-out

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A second proposed strike by BBC Technology staff later this month has been called off following a threat of legal action by the monster broadcaster.

BECTU - the union which represents around a quarter of BBC Technology's 1,400 staff - is opposing the sell-off of the department to Siemens. A two-day strike by BBC techies due to start at the end of July was scrapped after employers made a second revised offer to staff.

But the union said that industrial action planned for 13/14 August would still go ahead if the revised offer was rejected by staff. Union negotiators want to ensure that staff win certain employment and pension guarantees, such as a promise that no ex-BBC Technology staff would be redeployed within Siemens outside the city they are currently working in.

Now, though, BECTU has abandoned plans for this strike to go ahead after the BBC threatened to take the union to court. The union's own lawyers said the BBC's legal threat was "serious". Even if members vote to reject the latest offer on the table by the time the consultative ballot closes on 12 August, there will be no strike on the following day.

Despite this setback BECTU has said that unless it wins sufficient assurances it will take industrial action.

Said BECTU Assistant Gerry Morrissey: "There are still a significant number of issues unresolved between BECTU and the Corporation concerning BBC Technology which, if not resolved, will lead to a further ballot for industrial action." ®

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