TVC tour guides to vote on strike action

NBH BBC tours are due to start at New Broadcasting House in April

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BBC tour guides at Television Centre will vote on whether to strike over a potential 17% pay cut ahead of their move to New Broadcasting House.

The guides are currently moving to New Broadcasting House in central London, having hosted their last tour at TVC on Friday before the building closes in March.

Broadcasting union Bectu says BBC management wants the length of the standard shift to be reduced at NBH, which will result in a cut to guides' wages.

The proposal is part of the 20% savings being undertaken by the BBC as part of the Delivering Quality First (DQF) plans.

Around 90,000 people took a tour of TVC last year, with between 12-15 tours taking place on a typical day. Bectu says this generated nearly £600,000 for the BBC. The new tours at NBH are due to start in April.

Luke Crawley, Bectu assistant general secretary, said members understood the financial pressures on the corporation but 'what they don't understand however is why, out of thousands of staff moving from west London to New Broadcasting House, they are the only ones faced with a savage cut in earnings.

'None of the managers involved are facing any reduction in pay. The BBC seems very keen to tell my members that the pay cut is for the good of the department and the BBC.

'What managers are less keen to explain is how the workforce is expected to get by on a pay cut of nearly 20%.'

Pay rise rejected

The BBC confirmed that tour guides' would work slightly shorter shifts at NBH than at TV Centre.

'We have previously offered a 5% pay rise the hourly rate of pay to mitigate this but this goodwill gesture was rejected,' said a BBC spokesperson.

'We have worked hard to avoid making any redundancies amongst the tour guides, although some managers in the department have been made redundant, and we remain open to discussions to resolve the dispute.'

The ballot on strike action starts on Tuesday 26 February, with results released on March 20.

BBC Tours also operate at the corporation's offices around the UK, including Cardiff, Bristol and Glasgow, as well as local radio stations in England.

The ballot comes amid industrial action at the BBC, where members of the National Union of Journalists are currently working to rule and undertook a one-day strike on February 18.

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