All aboard the gravy train to Salford!

Published on 19 December 2007 in , , ,

On Tuesday, the front page of the BBC staff newspaper, Ariel, was devoted to the relocation package on offer for staff affected by the BBC’s move to Salford. Basically it’s quite a good package in some respects, mainly because the one thing the BBC is not going to want to do is start several departments completely from scratch when they move them from the glamorous world of London’s W12. In my own team there’s a huge amount of highly specialist technical knowledge that is just not hugely available outside our own building in London, yet alone in the North West of England.

Ariel is available – on a paid-subscription basis – to anyone outside the BBC, hence on Wednesdays you can almost guarantee that there will be a batch of stories in the mainstream press, pretty much lifted straight from its pages. And of course the Salford relocation was one of them.

I’m not a Daily Mail fan by any means, but I couldn’t resit finding out what they were saying – but it was the user comments that would prove to be far more interesting and insightful!

The most amusing came straight away:

This BBC gravy train is completely out of hand.

Dick Conway

Yes Dick. Your employer trying to relocate you several hundred miles away from your current home, really is such a gravy train! Months of disruption whilst you find a new home, whilst your partner gets a new job, whilst you find a new school for your kids. Never mind! Choo choo! Here comes the buckets of cash! I can tell Dick has never had his employer trying to move his house.

Okay, that’s a bit too serious! Lets more on.

Can’t they get that bald bloke from Homes under the Hammer to do it all in thirty minutes?

New curtains are a waste of money if moving to Salford. Within a month they will be full of bullet holes from drive-by shootings.

Robert, Manchester

Actually I think Robert’s referring to Dominic Littlewood of To Buy or Not To Buy fame. I have to say Robert’s description of Salford is at complete contrast with the nice, gleaming photos and pictures they’ve shown us!

The bloke who presents Homes Under The Hammer actually has quite a lot of hair. And looks a bit like a dodgy estate agent!

I once worked for a company that relocated. It was either move too, or find another job. I would have had to pay all relocation costs. This is a blatant waste of TV Tax money, and should be stopped. Alternatively, I hope that the “government” will not approve any further TV Tax increases as the BBC obviously has too much of our money to waste as it is.

David, UK

Have to say it David, but I think your (former?) employers attitude sums up its view towards its employees. Clearly they knew they could get other people to do those roles elsewhere. Perhaps they thought you all sucked and wanted shot of you.

Lee had a slightly different view:

Excellent – it’s about time we saw companies putting the welfare of their staff first. I hope this sets a model for other companies to follow. Good staff are an asset, not a liability, and companies need to learn that you can’t get good performance out of people if you’re not willing to help them. Great stuff, and I have no problem whatsoever with my licence fee money being spent in this way.

Lee Osborne, London

Ah Lee, I’ve no idea who you are, but I’ve got to say give this man a medal. Here’s someone who gets it. Really gets it.

So many employers have a tendency to treat their staff with contempt; that the people who work for them are just some annoyance they’d rather not have. The commenters I’ve highlighted above (and many more on the Daily Mail site) seem to think that should be the norm.

Personally I don’t think that should be the case, and frankly I find it actually rather depressing that some people think it should be. We don’t live to work in this world – we work to live. The BBC is one employer who recognises that. It tends to treat its staff well, and gets good loyalty and work from its staff in return.

It has to be said though that the likelihood is that even if the BBC made the relocation package even better, a substantial number of the 1500 staff affected by the trip to Salford just won’t go.

Realistically £8,000 extra for relocation isn’t going to sway that many people given the pain and hassle that will result in such a move. A huge proportion of the affected BBC staff will simply find new jobs or hold out for something else – redundancy. If the Daily Mail readers are really worried about that relocation package, they might want to consider the costs of paying off all the staff who don’t want to go.

And with that I’ll leave the final comment with Peter who says…

Would the BBC care to do a swap with my house? I could do with moving further South where it is warmer.

Peter, Manchester