BBC journalists and technicians are to be balloted for industrial action over pay, threatening coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, unions said today.
The BBC and the unions representing their employees are currently locked in a battle over a new pay deal.
However, the strike ballot is a response to the BBC deciding to raise employee salaries by 1% before negotiations concluded, Bectu, the broadcasting union, confirmed.
The general secretary of Bectu, Gerry Morrissey, said that the threat of a strike in the midst of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations was "regrettable" but was a response to a "derisory" offer from the BBC.
"We had informed them that a direct offer of 1% would be seen as a hostile act by the joint unions. We now have no option but to call a strike ballot at the earliest opportunity."
Morrissey alleges that the offer was "an act of poor faith" from the broadcasting company, but that the imposed rise is "very helpfully placing a down-payment in our members pockets to help them through any forthcoming Jubilee strike."
The BBC responded by saying that the rise was intended to be a method of "recognising the hard work that is going on across the BBC in implementing the savings we need to make and meeting the challenges we face in 2012."
A BBC spokesman added that they were disappointed that a strike ballot had been called and that in the current economic climate, the action will not change their position.
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Ekaterina Samutsevich, a member of female Russian punk band Pussy Riot waves as she is escorted to the court in Moscow, on April 19, 2012. Three members of the all-woman punk band 'Pussy Riot' were detained two months ago, after they climbed on the altar of Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral - the country's central place of worship - and sang a song they called a 'Punk Prayer'. The women have been charged with hooliganism committed by an organised group - an unusually harsh charge for protesters. (Photo credit: ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers detain a supporter of female Russian punk band Pussy Riot outside the court in Moscow, on April 19, 2012, before the hearings on the Pussy Riot case. Three members of the all-woman punk band 'Pussy Riot' were detained two months ago, after they climbed on the altar of Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral -- the country's central place of worship -- and sang a song they called a 'Punk Prayer'. The women have been charged with hooliganism committed by an organised group -- an unusually harsh charge for protesters. (Photo credit: ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
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Israelis pause during a two-minute siren in memory of victims of the Holocaust in the market in Jerusalem, Thursday, April 19, 2012. The day is one of the most solemn on Israel's calendar. Restaurants and places of entertainment shut down, and radio and TV programming focuses on Holocaust documentaries and interviews with survivors. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
France's incumbent President and UMP ruling party's candidate for the 2012 presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during a campaing meeting on April 19, 2012 in the French city of Saint-Maurice outside Paris. (Photo credit: MICHEL EULER/AFP/Getty Images)
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An Iraqi soldier walks past the debris at the scene of two car bombs close to the governate in the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk on April 19, 2012, which left several people dead. A wave of bomb attacks in four different provinces across Iraq killed at least 30 people security officials said. (Photo credit: MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)
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A Myanmar woman hold a baby street in Yangon on April 19, 2012. The United States invited Myanmar's foreign minister and said on April 18 that democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who is traveling abroad for the first time in decades, had an 'open invitation.' AFP PHOTO / Soe Than WIN (Photo credit: Soe Than WIN/AFP/Getty Images)