Former BBC staff at SIS Live are being unfairly treated, according to union bosses, who have called on employees of the firm’s outside broadcast division to strike over a pay offer from the company.

Broadcast trade union Bectu urged staff to reject the offer of a £400 pay increase, which is conditional on the implementation of revised contracts.

SIS branch secretary Sean Kelly said SIS OBs’ finances had improved by £2m as a result of agreed pay cuts last year which he said were only applied to ex-BBC staff, despite an agreement they would be made across the board.

BBC staff moved to SIS OBs, which is part of SIS Live, after the BBC sold its outside broadcast division in 2008.

“This year the company has rewarded the very staff who didn’t take a cut, whilst the ex-BBC staff are being threatened with the imposition of drastically worse terms and conditions in return for a small pay rise,” said Kelly.  

Bectu had asked for a minimum increase of 2.8% for all staff.

It also proposed that staff earning less than £20,000 a year should receive a 10% increase and staff earning less than £25K to receive a rise of 7.5%. 

SIS Live managing director David Meynell said that because of declining programme budgets the company needed to find ways of reducing costs.

He said: “We do not underestimate the personal sacrifices which have been made by the many who contribute to the success of SIS LIVE and these are always appreciated.

“Just as many in the industry have had to accept below inflation increases in salary, so we have asked our staff to make similar concessions.

“It is therefore very disappointing that Bectu have taken this stance, although I am confident that the imminent ballot will demonstrate that the views of BECTU are not supported by the vast majority of our staff, who continue to work tirelessly for the good of our business and to the benefit of our customers’ programmes.”

A ballot for industrial action at SIS Outside Broadcasts will begin on 7 August and close on 4 September.

Bectu national official Gerry Carr added: “SIS OBs has the advantage of skilled staff; the business can only benefit if the company recognises its responsibility to deliver a decent reward.

“We are urging all members to vote in the ballot and to vote yes to action.”