BBC and unions agree to mediation talks

The BBC and trade unions have agreed to mediation at Acas to try to resolve their dispute over job cuts.

Bectu, Amicus and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) took a first day of action on Monday over plans to cut almost 4,000 jobs in a move aimed at saving £355m.

Further strikes are planned for next week, with staff planning a 48-hour walkout on 31 May and 1 June.

Director general Mark Thompson said he was pleased that the dispute was now being taken to Acas.

“We have always said we wanted to get back around the table and talk,” he said. “We wanted it all along. It was not us who got away from the table, and we are just pleased now that there will be room to talk about it.”

Bectu assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: “We have both accepted the invitation without preconditions. We are not prepared to cancel next week’s strikes until we see more detail of what the BBC may or may not be prepared to offer us.”

BBC chairman Michael Grade said the governors would not intervene in the dispute. “It’s entirely a matter for the management. It’s wholly inappropriate for the governors to put themselves between the managers and the dispute,” he said.

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