Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

BBC staff in jobs row strike ballot

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Thousands of BBC journalists and technical staff are to be balloted for strikes in a row over jobs, workload and stress, unions have announced.

The National Union of Journalists and Bectu said their members will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a joint campaign of industrial action.

The unions said BBC staff were suffering from increased workload and rising levels of stress as a result of job and spending cuts.

Ballot papers will be sent out on March 6, with the result due later next month. The move follows continued union opposition to the BBC's so-called Delivering Quality First programme, which includes up to 2,000 job losses.

Gerry Morrissey, Bectu's general secretary, said: "We would prefer to have a sensible conversation with BBC management about the damage done in the first year of these cuts, but instead we've had to turn up the pressure to protect thousands of members from over-work, bullying and stress.

"The BBC seems to believe that staff can continue supporting the full range of services despite a 20% reduction in resources and massive job cuts.

"Blame for low morale and insecurity in BBC workplaces rests firmly on the shoulders of managers who signed up to a six-year freeze in the licence fee in 2010. By committing to maintain levels of output despite a drastic reduction in real funding, they turned the BBC from a world-class broadcaster into mission impossible."

NUJ members staged a one-day strike last week in a dispute over compulsory redundancies.

A BBC spokesman said: "We're surprised that the NUJ and Bectu have chosen to ballot their members over a number of new issues without formally meeting with us first to discuss them.

"We will be meeting with the unions next week and hope to reach a resolution, as we have said we have significant savings targets to meet and strike action will not alter this."

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