19/04/2012 07:54 BST | Updated 19/04/2012 08:36 BST

BBC Staff Could Strike During Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

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.