Lucy Adams on the recent BBC pay deal

Friday 20 April 2012, 21:18

Lucy Adams Lucy Adams Director of BBC People

There has been a series of reports in today's papers relating to this year's pay rise. As you will have seen, the joint unions have stated that they are not happy with the increase and have announced that they will ballot their members on strike action as a result and that could affect coverage of the Diamond Jubilee.

I want to clear up some erroneous elements of these stories as I think they have portrayed BBC employees in an unfair light. Before doing so however let me provide a bit of background.

Earlier this year, we announced a pay increase of 1% for staff in 2012. We did this based on what we could afford. We're conscious that our people have had below inflation pay rises or, in some cases, a complete pay freeze for the last three years. And during this period, like many others outside the BBC, they have seen their pay fall in real terms. We are also currently in the process of trying to deliver savings of £700m a year by 2016/17 as part of the Delivering Quality First efficiencies programme. Given these challenges we made a tough judgement on the amount by which we could afford to raise pay.

Feedback from our staff on the pay rise has been mixed. Some staff are not happy with the offer but others tell us that whilst they would obviously have preferred to have had a pay rise that matched the rise in the cost of living they understand our financial position.

We know that we're not alone in this situation. Many licence fee payers have seen their own pay frozen. In the public sector for example there is a two year Government cap on public pay of 1%. Local Government workers are due to enter their third consecutive year of pay freezes. Against this backdrop the joint union's demands of a pay rise for staff amounting to nearly 6% looks unrealistic.

And this is the point. In some of today's press BBC staff were described as 'militant', 'unpatriotic' and 'greedy'. The suggestion is that they are threatening to 'wreck the Queen's Jubilee celebrations' in order to get more money. This is not the case. No decision has yet been taken on whether or not there will be a strike and we remain hopeful that staff will vote against such a course of action.

We have made clear to the unions that even if they do take industrial action it won't change what we can afford. What it could do however is damage our relationship with licence fee payers and that is the last thing we want.

Everyone I speak to at the BBC is excited at the prospect of working on some of the biggest events this country has ever seen. They are proud that they will be bringing the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Euro 2012 to audiences of millions around the country and I don't believe anyone at the BBC wants to see this coverage jeopardised.


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    Comment number 1.

    This is once again complete nonsense.

    Yes you need to save money.

    It has been stated that employed numbers will fall over the next few years and this is where the real savings are, assuming they are not all replaced by new contract workers. Therefore the remaining staff should not need to have pay following so far behind inflation.

    As usual with the BBC there is a pressing need to remove a couple of layers of bureaucrats / bean counters as the reductions here never seem to keep pace with those of creative and support staff.

    Bureaucracies always look after their own rather than tackle the core problems. This will be a good place for the new DG to stamp his / her direction on the organisation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Just to back up what Lucy and a few other members of the Payroll Sustainability Management Team have said.

    The Director General completely understands your misery, his salary dropped from "£ Outrageous" to "£ Taking the p...." this year. As does the Director of Payroll Futures. His salary has been pegged back to "£ Holy f what does he do to earn that much". Even our very own Director for Procurement of Shiny Things took a pay cut to join the BBC and, as a result, had to sell one of her villas in Tuscany to break even last year.

    But the truth of the matter is that making the move to Media Salford City without giving a hint to the outside that it's torn the BBC apart has cost a lot of money. You can't expect millionnaire football pundits to make their own way to Manchester. That's one of the many reasons why we've spent nearly a million on fares so far this year. That doesn't leave much money for directors and celebrities pay, does it?

    Production staff have to understand that all 1,376 Directors here at the BBC are feeling your pain.

    On a completely unrelated matter, Tim, I can't seem to be able to email you at the moment, so just in case you're reading.
    In answer to your earlier question about the editing system. No the free one is rubbish, why don't you pay for a licence for the better one they've all been using out of your own huge salary? It'll improve front-end quality. The other alternative is to get Caroline to send a snotty warning to already demoralised staff but don't forget everything you send ends up in Private Eye and makes the BBC look like it doesn't know what it's doing. Your call mate.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Firstly harass and intimidate staff (say with a protected characteristic).Push it until they feel the need to resign, if that’s not working increase the harassment and then sack them for a breach of trust and confidence ( its an easy one to use, basically they will have a contract saying that hrs may require flexibility so keep pushing the hours or location until they cannot be complied with then HERES the best bit it’s a gross misconduct so you can sack them with no notice! How smart is that).
    With the money saved on sacking lower level staff , reward the lines & lines of managers who really deserve it .SORRY FORGOT THAT’S NOW POLICY


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