Sale of BBC Technology will move 1,400 staff to private sector

The
Government has approved the £2bn sell-off of the BBC’s technology arm, meaning
1,400 corporation staff will be moving to the private sector.

BBC
Technology will be handed over to IT services provider Siemens Business
Services this Friday (1 October), after culture minister Tessa Jowell found “no legitimate
reason” to block the sale.

The
BBC said selling the company off will immediately raise more than £100m when
Siemens pays for its shares, and should yield a guaranteed saving of £30m a
year on the corporation’s £200m technology bill.

However,
broadcast union Bectu,
which has opposed this deal since it was first proposed, reacted to the news
with dismay.

Gerry
Morrissey, assistant general secretary at Bectu, said: "Despite the protection we have
won for their terms and conditions after the sale, it could turn out to be bad
news for some staff once jobs start to go, and it’s certainly not good for the
BBC in the long-term".

Bectu also accused BBC management
of "exporting a redundancy problem".

Both
the BBC and Siemens accept that job losses are inevitable some time after the
sell-off, and the union has complained that it was not allowed to discuss a
possible in-house restructuring, including redundancies, that could have cut
costs.

Negotiations
over the effect on staff produced a package of guarantees under which Siemens
will not implement any compulsory redundancies for the first year, and staff
terms and conditions will remain unchanged for three years. Ex-BBC staff will
also be able to join a pension scheme with benefits that are broadly comparable
with the BBC’s own scheme.

But,
despite winning staff protection, there was still disappointment and anger
among members at the corporation’s willingness to “sell off” hundreds of staff,
Bectu said.

 By Daniel Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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