While the BBC is under fire for its hiring of 800 Crapita agents to target over 75s for its TV tax, we are reminded of how the BBC pays £5,000 bonus to some staff just for getting up early! The BBC forks out £21million annually in “unpredictability payments” for unsocial work hours!
Did you ever hear about essential front line nurses, doctors, emergency services, fire-fighters, being paid extra to get up early?
A couple of years ago Tory MP Andrew Bridgen exposed the payments of these perks unavailable to anyone else in public or private sector
For many of us, getting up early for work is just an unpleasant fact of life. But if you’re lucky enough to be a journalist on the BBC you are entitled to an extra £5,000 a year just to get out of bed. The broadcaster, which was embroiled in a bitter row over equal pay, is forking out an astonishing £21 million on ‘unpredictability payments’ for working unsocial hours at short notice.
This applies to programmes such as Today on Radio 4, which requires staff to be in well before its 6am start. Critics say the generous bonus payments would not be tolerated in the private sector and are further proof that the BBC is out of step with its audience. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said “The BBC is offering perks and privileges that are unavailable to anyone else in the public or private sector. Hard-pushed doctors and nurses have to work all hours, and if work needs to be done in the private sector it has to be done irrespective of the time of day.
“The problem is that the BBC does not live in a commercial world and it does not have to because it is totally funded by £4 billion of taxpayers’ money”.
The BBC confirmed that 4,507 staff received the unpredictability payments, known as UPAs. A total of 1,194 employees claim UPA1, which is worth £2,732 a year. UPA2, worth £5,462, is claimed by 3,313 employees.
One former employee, who asked not to be named, said the system of extra payments was open to abuse. He said managers sometimes used them to top up salaries, and employees were paid even if they didn’t work anti-social hours. He said “We used to call them payments for getting out of bed. It was ridiculous”.
The news is embarrassing for the Corporation, which is still trying to defend the sky-high salaries it pays to some stars. John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said ‘This shows the BBC has still not got a grip on its bloated and byzantine payment systems. Licence-fee payers want their money to be spent responsibly, not given out in opaque payments like this.
“People who go the extra mile in the public sector should be rewarded through merit-based remuneration, but these unpredictability payments seem open to abuse”.
It was revealed that the ‘early morning’ payments are just one in a series of lucrative perks enjoyed by Corporation staff. The BBC also spends £343,266 a year on private healthcare for 189 senior managers. That may strike some viewers as ironic given how enthusiastically the BBC promotes the NHS in programmes such as Call The Midwife and Casualty.
Last year the BBC also spent £33,000 on first-class rail fare for managers despite claiming that economy tickets were normal. A spokesman said ‘It’s impossible to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week without employing people to work through the nights, and sometimes shifts change at short notice.
It’s only public money!