Strike action as BBC Elstree engineers could face redundancy

A proposed restructure from construction company Interserve could leave more than half of BBC Elstree engineers without jobs.

A proposed restructure from construction company Interserve could leave more than half of BBC Elstree engineers without jobs.

First published in News
Last updated
Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

BBC Elstree staff went on strike after news that engineers could be made redundant.

Construction company Interserve, which provides facilities management services to more than 150 BBC buildings, has been in consultation with unions since early July about proposals to cut its engineering team at BBC sites in London and Elstree.

The proposed restructure, which has been suggested in order to deliver better value for money, could leave more than half of the current engineering team without jobs.

Interserve says redundancies cannot be ruled out, but that it will look to offer opportunities for redeployment of any affected staff within the wider group.

Workers from BBC Elstree went on strike on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, with two further 24-hour strikes due from 9am on September 1 and from 9am on September 4.

An Interserve spokesman said: “While it is clearly disappointing that further strike action may be taken we will continue to work closely with unions and staff representatives to try to reach a suitable agreement for all parties.”

Action was unanimously supported by the 160 engineers and technicians, with 93 per cent voting in favour of the strikes.

Union Unite is now asking Interserve to cease its dismissal process and answer key questions on health and safety concerns.

Unite industrial officer Mike Eatwell said: “Since taking over the new contract in April, Interserve has issued a staggering six redundancy notices affecting hundreds of workers from fabric technicians to engineers and cleaners.

“Interserve is seeking to displace experienced engineers and run its operation on a shoestring. Not surprisingly for the BBC, as the client, there are also attractions for a cheaper service. But our members who know the BBC sites and the requirements of the client over many years argue that this will lead to higher costs to the BBC when the reduced service cannot cope.

“Interserve has claimed that their Maximo smartphone system will save administration time and perhaps it will. But at present our information is that it does not work so rushing into dismissals now is premature.”

A BBC spokesman said: "This is a dispute between Interserve and the Unions. Interserve has mitigating arrangements in place to ensure that delivery of their services to the BBC are not affected.”

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