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Sunday, 25 February

BBC Maintenance Staff Asked Are You Being Interserved?

Engineers and technicians working at FM provider, Interserve, on a BBC contract are to strike on Monday 1st September at sites across London and at Elstree Studios (where Are You Being Served  featuring Mrs Slocombe, pictured, was filmed). The strike has been called by both Unite and BECTU who represent the staff affected. Unite members will also strike on Wednesday 3rd September.

Interserve employs approximately 1,100 employees on BBC premises across the UK.

The dispute is over compulsory redundancies and was supported by 160 engineers and technicians, with 93% voting for strike action.

Interserve supplies FM services to over 150 BBC buildings, and had initially given notice to make 75% of the engineers redundant, although it changed this figure to just over 50%. The Unite union had rejected the redundancy notices.

The engineers and fabric technicians maintain all the BBC’s assets across London including those that are broadcast critical. The union has sought in vain for risk assessments of the proposed new manning arrangements and has challenged Interserve’s list of assets that the workforce oversees.

Since winning a BBC contract in April this year, Interserve has been accused of issuing six redundancy notices affecting hundreds of workers, from fabric technicians to engineers and cleaners, in an effort to keep the figures in the black.

The other union involved, BECTU, also has at issue a dispute over pay arising from the company's failure to respond to a pay claim submitted in June, along with complaints identical to Unite.

BECTU and Unite are discussing dates for the next phase of industrial action. Speaking earlier this month, Helen Ryan, BECTU supervisory official, said: “Although these cuts only affect London at the moment, we believe that the company has agreed to a contract that they are now struggling to deliver profitably and so it is slashing jobs, and we believe they will look to sites outside London next for more cuts.”

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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