BBC journalists balloted over strike

Exterior of New Broadcasting House in central London Members of the National Union of Journalists will vote in the coming weeks

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Journalists at the BBC are to be balloted for strike action over pay.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will vote on whether to take industrial action following a 1% pay offer, with pay frozen for those earning more than £50,000.

The union also called for reforms to address the "huge differential" between the salaries of journalists, programme makers and senior managers.

The ballot will run from 20 June to 11 July.

'Austerity'

"The union has argued for a genuine alternative to the excessive payments to managers and the waste in the corporation," NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said.

"There are structural changes that can be made that would result in fair pay and free up cash for programming.

"Our calculations show that if pay was capped at £150,000, this would free £20m which could be spent on journalism and programming.

"This would be to the benefit of the staff and licence payers."

Currently, director general Tony Hall and managing director Anne Bulford both earn £450,000 a year.

The NUJ said members felt "betrayed" by Lord Hall following the corporation's 1% pay offer, which is tied to a minimum of £390.

When the offer was announced last month, the director general said it was vital to demonstrate the BBC "gets austerity".

In response to the ballot, a BBC spokeswoman said: "We're surprised the NUJ has chosen to ballot their members whilst we are still in talks with the joint unions.

"The 1% pay increase we have offered is in line with the public sector. It is structured to benefit our lowest paid staff and excludes senior managers.

"The reality of the licence fee settlement means that we are constrained financially."

Last year BBC journalists threatened to strike over the 2013/14 pay offer of £600 for all staff, but dropped action after agreeing to an improved offer of £800 or 1%, whichever was higher.

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