BBC urged to publish top stars’ salaries – as unions moot strike over workers’ pay

MPs say talent earning more than Theresa May should have salaries made public

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BBC stars who earn more than the Prime Minister’s £143,000 should have their salaries published, according to a committee of MPs, as unions threaten strikes over BBC workers’ pay.

The public broadcaster already publishes the salary of top management, but the Commons culture, media and sport committee says this should be extended to high-paid on-screen talent, who are also receiving taxpayers’ money.

The BBC warned this would hand a ‘poachers’ charter’ to commercial rivals looking to woo BBC stars, though committee chair Damian Collins MP said these salaries are already known in the industry.

The committee report comes as Bectu, the NUJ and Unite are balloting members on a pay offer by the BBC, which includes a one per cent rise for the period of 2016/17. The unions had been pushing for three per cent.

Gerry Morrissey, Bectu general secretary, said:

‘In the circumstances we believe this is the best offer we can achieve with the BBC and they have said the revised offer is their final one.

In the event that members reject the offer then they must be prepared to vote for and take potentially sustained industrial action.

If the result of the consultative ballot is to reject the offer the unions will move to ballot for strike action.’

The ballot opened on Thursday and will close on August 11.

Both disputes come as the BBC hashes out the terms of its Royal Charter renewal with the government.

The broadcaster might have received a boost from Theresa May, after the new Prime Minister replaced John Whittingdale, a fierce critic of the Beeb, with Karen Bradley as Culture Minister.

Bradley is thought to be more liberal and less likely to take a hard line with the BBC. Her predecessor’s appointment days after the 2015 general election was hailed as a ‘declaration of war’ on the BBC by the print media.

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: John Whittingdale’s BBC white paper spells danger for the people’s broadcaster

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