Outsourced BBC HR employees snub Belfast move in favour of redundancy

None of the BBC staff that were transferred to Capita as part of a £100m HR outsourcing deal last year are now working on the contract.


The vast majority have opted to take redundancy rather than switch to a shared service centre in Belfast, or work on other non-BBC contracts, according to broadcasting union Bectu.


More than 210 HR employees switched to outsourcing supplier Capita in April 2006 as part of a 10-year deal to run a number of HR services.


Bectu had asked Capita for a guarantee that HR staff would be allowed to continue working on the BBC contract, or have the option of redundancy.


The union said in every other BBC outsourcing exercise, the new company had agreed that if employees could not be provided BBC work then redundancy was open to them.


Capita initially refused to provide this guarantee, and said it would redeploy workers onto other contracts, leaving employees little option but to resign if they were unhappy. This stance prompted a one-day strike by union members in June 2006.


But now it has emerged that Capita has relented and given workers refusing to relocate to Belfast the option of redundancy.


Luke Crawley, lead BBC negotiator at Bectu, said: “It’s an odd situation because that is what the union wanted the company to agree to in the first place. Every time one of our members sat down with their manager to talk about redundancy, it was agreed straight away.”


There have also been complaints from staff at the BBC that the HR service provided is not of the same standard as when it was run in-house, Crawley said.


A spokeswoman for the BBC would not disclose the number of former staff redeployed within Capita or leaving the organisation.


“Following a smooth transition to the outsourced arrangement, the BBC and Capita are working together to bed down the new operating model,” she said.


Capita declined to comment on the matter.

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