Changes to UPA put on hold

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The BBC is putting on hold its plans to roll UPA (unpredictability allowance) into salaries, which was meant to take effect this March.

In an email from HR director Lucy Adams, who is due to leave the BBC in the spring, she explains that the decision about UPA will be delayed until a new HR director is appointed and is able to consider any proposals.

'This will allow us to have more constructive, focused discussions with the unions about pay as we have committed to do,' Adams says.

The decision to reform UPA has been delayed more than once, with proposals first announced in 2011 as part of Delivering Quality First.

The BBC wants to consolidate UPA into new base salaries that will reflect industry rates for working unsociable hours; it will also end the benefit for new joiners. The changes are part of a larger review of the BBC's pay and grading structure, which is still ongoing.

The corporation has claimed that any changes would not affect the take-home pay of current UPA recipients, which number about 7500.

It has proved to be a controversial move with the unions, who have strongly opposed any changes to UPA until wider changes to pay and grading have been decided and a new package can be negotiated with them.

In a letter to director general Tony Hall in November, the joint unions argued that the BBC's current plans will in effect leave 'local management to determine what salary new staff are employed on and what level of compensation there will be for working unpredictably'.

They called this 'totally unacceptable' and were planning to ballot for industrial action if the BBC went ahead with its current proposals.

In a statement, the BBC said: 'Given the appointment of a new director of HR early this year, it makes sense to wait until this appointment before we take the next step in this project.'

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