Around 3,400 IT and business processing staff employed by outsourcing firm Siemens have secured 4% pay rises after threatening strike action.
Two separate pay deals cover 1,400 staff working for the BBC under its £2bn IT outsourcing deal with Siemens and 2,000 other staff working on a range of other contracts – including those at National Savings and the Identity and Passport Service.
The BBC staff, represented by the Bectu broadcasting union, voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved pay offer, that will deliver a 4% pay increase in the first year, with 2.15% in 2008. Lower paid staff will get a minimum £1,000 rise.
The package also includes an 8.5% increase in London weighting to 3,972 for staff earning less than £25,000 and a 5% London weighting increase to £3,444 for those on more than £25,000. An increase in pension contributions has been postponed until 2008.
Bectu official Helen Ryan said: "Bectu recommended the new offer because we felt it was a positive movement by Siemens."
Siemens IT Services staff working on other outsourced contracts who are represented by the PCS civil service union have accepted a similar deal.
They will receive 4% this year, a rise covering the Retail Price Index plus 1% up to a maximum of 2.5% next year, and a further 0.5% “harmonisation” payment aimed at bringing low paid staff earnings up to market rates.
Both deals followed strong votes for strike action by the Bectu and PCS members, who had earlier rejected offers of 2.5% and 3% respectively.
Danny Williams, PCS group president for Siemens staff, said: “This demonstrates that workers in the IT sector need trade unions as much as workers anywhere else. Without trade unions, there is no way they would have got such a good deal. Staff in other Siemens companies, who are not represented by unions, have got around 2% to 2.5%.”
Bectu and PCS had negotiated separately but had co-ordinated their approaches, he said.
The BBC deal covers staff employed by Siemens IT Services who work on IT, broadcast technology and the corporation’s internet and intranet servers, along with those employed by Siemens SECL, which runs the BBC's telephone exchange system.
Both groups were employed by BBC Technology before it was outsourced to Siemens in October 2004. Earlier this year, MPs slammed the BBC’s management of the 10-year outsourcing contract after 60% of the key technology projects in its first year suffered delays or went over budget.