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Jowell waves through BBC Technology sale

'No legitimate reason' to block deal

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The sale of BBC Technology to Siemens is to go ahead after Culture Minister Tessa Jowell said she had "no legitimate reason" to block the sale.

A letter approving the privatisation of BBC Technology and the transfer of 1,400 staff has been sent to the BBC. Siemens is expected to take over ownership on October 1.

Gerry Morrissey, assistant general secretary of trade union BECTU ,said: "This decision will come as a blow to our members in BBC Technology who have opposed this sell-off since it was first proposed. Despite the protection we have won for their terms and conditions after the sale, it could turn out to be bad news for some of them once jobs start to go, and it's certainly not good for the BBC in the long term".

"This isn't just the BBC selling off one of its 'Crown Jewels', it's a case of handing its central nervous system over to the private sector."

One stunned BBC insider told us: "It looks like we've all been sold down the river - and in only a week's time if the BBC stick to their currently planned timescale. Those of us being screwed over don't even know what's going to happen in a week's time."

BECTU has campaigned against the privatisation of BBC Technology ever since details of the sell-off were announced last November. The BBC said sale of the technology division will raise more than £100m and save £30m a year in IT running costs. Despite assurances, the union argued that the move would lead to job losses and leave workers worse off. ®

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