General Secretary 21-04-2009

Sent: 21 April 2009 15:34
To: General Secretary
Subject: Asian Network Dispute

Hi Jeremy

My name is Devan Maistry and I’ve been involved in a protracted dispute with management at the Asian Network at the BBC.

They’ve been trying to get me to leave for some time as critical journalists will not be tolerated on ethnic programs. They raised unidentified performance issues as a pretext. A grievance was lodged against the institution of capability proceedings and this was followed by an appeal when that grievance was dismissed.

The facts show that the BBC has flouted its agreement with the NUJ flagrantly. I’ve been told by our legal department however that even if the BBC was in complete breach of the agreement, there is nothing we can do about it as the legal options are extremely limited.

I thought I’d ask whether breach of a union agreement is a serious issue for the NUJ. Perhaps the Agreed Statement E1a2 Issues of Capability is not actually an agreement in the usual sense but some sort of gentleman’s agreement.  Would it not be better in that case to drop the pretence rather than provide a forum that the BBC can exploit for cosmetic purposes?

Laura Davison has been helping me at head office, and I was advised on the legal issue by Nicola Welchman.

Please let me know whether from a wider union perspective this is a matter you might take up.

Devan Maistry


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