Concession… or is it?

Today’s Media Guardian carries a story suggesting that Mark Thompson is prepared to concede a key point: namely to re-open negotiations if the deficit is revealed to be below £1.5 billion when the valuation is completed at the end of March next year. The BBC is portraying this as a “clarification” rather than a concession, but given the steadfast insistence up until now that it would not re-open negotiations unless the deficit fell below £1 billion, it looks like a concession to me.

But, it may still be less than it looks. If the current deal is implemented at the end of November as currently planned, then the idea that meaningful negotiations can be had in March/April looks like a fantasy. Many people might already have signed up for CAB2011, so the BBC would have a ready made argument to kill any further negotiation. The key is this: will the BBC suspend implementation of the current deal until the deficit is revealed? If not, then the offer to hold further talks if the deficit falls below £1.5 billion is an empty offer.

One thing it does make clear: strikes work. The new offer is being made conditional upon the union calling off the strikes on Monday and Tuesday. Thompson is clearly rather more desperate to avoid further strike action than his uncompromising emails to staff would suggest. The temptation for the NUJ must be – now they have discovered his pressure point – to push a little harder. The risk is that the members may not follow.

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2 Responses to “Concession… or is it?”

  1. matthew.hill@bbc.co.uk Says:

    I would be grateful if you would re-consider your decision not to apply for the trustee scheme.
    I think you would be an excellent person . I am an NUJ Father of Chapel. Best Matthew

    • renouj21 Says:

      Matthew,
      I appreciate your words, thank you very much. Rather than deal with this on the blog, I’ll give you a call, if that’s OK.
      Best
      J

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