Prospect, the union representing specialists at the Met Office, moved the emergency motion, which was seconded by broadcasting union BECTU.
Prospect deputy general secretary Sue Ferns told delegates the decision was difficult to understand, given the trusted status of the Met Office and the relationship of more than 90 years it had enjoyed with the BBC.
She said it was not too late for the government to intervene to halt the process and for a review to take place. However, Ferns added, despite Prospect writing to ministers Jo Johnson and Ed Vaizey, a reply had yet to be received.
The full text of the emergency motion reads:
“Congress condemns the BBC’s decision to renew its weather forecasting contract with the Met Office, trailed in the media on 23rd August, and to exclude it from further stages of the bidding process.
“The Met Office has provided public service weather forecasts for more than 90 years in collaboration with the BBC, because of its ability and commitment to deliver a high quality service through accuracy, consistency of data and flexibility. Businesses, emergency services and members of the public all rely on Met Office public weather forecasts.
“Like the BBC, the Met Office is a trusted brand but it is clear that both organisations are facing severe and immediate pressures to cut costs. This is yet another example of public sector experts bearing the brunt of austerity. It shows blatant disregard for the scientific skills and experience of Met Office staff to deliver the accurate weather forecast that so many businesses and people rely on.
“Failure to renew this contract challenges the employment of around 50 scientists and the work will need to be conducted anyway to avoid detriment to UK public forecast capability. The vital role played by the Met Office in addressing the economic and societal challenges of climate change is best served by joint public service provision.
“Congress calls upon the General Council to urgently lobby the government to intervene before it is too late.”
For further information contact:
Helen Stevens, negotiator: 0117 9294441 (w) 0771 351 1706 (m) [email protected]
Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary, tel 020 7902 6639 (w); 07803 898708 (m); email [email protected]
Andrew Child, media officer: 020 7902 6681 (w) 07770 304480 (m) [email protected]