BBC director-general averts strike ballot and agrees to talks with unions next week

Unions have called off a ballot of 10,000 BBC employees that could have led to strike action, after eight hours of discussion with director-general Mark Thompson yesterday

The vote was called earlier this week after Bectu, Amicus and the National Union of Journalists said staff were angered by the high salaries being awarded to top managers when most workers were being offered pay rises of just 2.6%.

The unions, which said “progress has been made” in their discussion with BBC management, will meet to discuss the outcome of the negotiations next week.

Last week, the BBC’s annual report revealed that the corporation’s executives had been awarded significant pay increases at a time when 3,780 jobs were being cut and the final salary pension scheme for new staff was being scrapped.

In May 2005, staff staged a 24-hour strike over the BBC’s redundancy plans, which resulted in disruption to television, radio and online output.

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