The commercial technology arm will change hands on Friday (1 October) after Jowell rubberstamped the terms and conditions last Friday. In a letter to Bectu she stated that she had 'no legitimate reason to withhold approval for the sale'. The lucrative contract is to be signed on Thursday (30 September).
Bectu assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: 'This decision will come as a blow to our members in BBC Technology who have opposed this sell-off since it was first proposed.'
German engineering company Siemens will pick up a 10-year, £2bn technology contract as part of the deal, raising at least £100m for the BBC once the technology company pays up. It is believed that the outsourcing to Siemens will save the BBC £30m a year on what is currently a £200m technology bill. Siemens was selected as the preferred bidder over Computer Sciences Corporation in June.
The sale had originally been scheduled for 1 September but was delayed after objections by Bectu, which threatened strike action in July over redundancy terms.
Despite Bectu's objections BBC sources did not feel that the deal was under further threat. BBC chief technology officer John Varney last week said: 'We have no reason to assume that approval will not arrive on time.'
Bectu maintains that the BBCT sale will not save as much money as promised but Varney refuted this accusation. 'The contract absolutely guarantees that level [£30m] of savings,' he said.
Bectu has also expressed concern that the technology framework agreement with Siemens could lead to technical departments in news, nations and regions, World Service and radio being privatised without proper consultation. 'The whole point of the framework agreement is to make incorporation possible but we will always consult staff and Bectu,' Varney responded.
Varney said that the next six to 12 months would see advances in server consolidation, applications and the launch of more technology-based projects such as One Vision and Jupiter.