Members of the media union Bectu have accepted a pay offer Siemens tabled to its IT service contractors working at the BBC. The deal averts threatened strike action.

Staff voted overwhelmingly (88.9 per cent) for the pay offer, which ends a dispute over initial company plans to impose a pay freeze. Bectu said that there was a “strong” turnout for the ballot.

Siemens offered staff a £300 consolidated increase backdated to the 1 January 2010, on condition that the union entered further discussions with the company to agree to a performance-related pay scheme proposal by 31 July. If members accept this proposal, a further £80 consolidated increase backdated to 1 January will be payable.

Suresh Chawla, national officer at Bectu, said: "We are very pleased to have been able to avert industrial action, despite the pay offer falling short of our claim. We believe the £300 is the best that could be achieved through negotiations and we look forward to the money hitting members’ pay packets."

Members will receive the pay increase in the next salary round.

The union initially called for a pay increase of £1,200, which Siemens rejected. After further negotiations, Bectu decided that it would try to get the company to match the flat rate £450 rise the BBC paid its directly employed staff this year.

In the four months to January, 70 Siemens contractors working at the BBC were made redundant.

Three years ago, around 3,400 IT and business processing staff employed by Siemens secured four per cent pay rises after threatening industrial action.

Siemens' work at the BBC has also been heavily criticised in the past. In 2007, the BBC set up a technology partnership board to monitor the outsourcer, following a report by MPs that revealed 60 per cent of the key technology projects in the deal's first year suffered delays or went over budget.