Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Disruption threat for BBC as strike action hits again

BBC journalists are on strike again today in protest at compulsory redundancies, threatening disruption to radio and TV programmes.

Members of the National Union of Journalists walked out across the country from midnight last night, after efforts last week to break the deadlocked row failed.

The union staged another 24-hour strike earlier this month as part of its campaign, severely affecting local programming.

Union members in Northern Ireland will stage a picket outside BBC headquarters in Belfast and at Radio Foyle in Londonderry from 6am.

The union's general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said she expected the strike to be "very solidly supported" by the 3,000 NUJ members at the corporation.

Ms Stanistreet said members were angered at a "change in approach" by the BBC to job cuts, with a number of compulsory redundancies already made and more expected in the coming weeks.

The two sides will meet for talks on August 11, but the NUJ leader said: "There has been absolutely no meaningful movement from the BBC to address the cases of individual journalists losing their jobs now."

Lucy Adams, the BBC's director of business operations, said in a message to staff that the corporation was unable to agree to the NUJ's demands for no compulsory redundancies.

"We are also unable to agree to NUJ members who are facing redundancy being treated differently to other BBC staff.

"Following the cuts in central Government grants to the World Service and BBC Monitoring we have had to close 387 posts, meaning that regrettably there are nearly 100 staff who as a result are facing compulsory redundancy.

"We have been working with all these affected staff to ensure that they have opportunities for redeployment and retraining but we cannot and will not give preferential treatment to individuals depending on their union status.

"We hope the NUJ will realise that these issues are best solved at a local level, and a national strike that penalises all our audiences is not in the interests of their members, other BBC staff or licence fee payers."

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