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BBC journalists return after strike

Thousands of BBC journalists have returned to work following a 48-hour strike over proposed pension changes, with an emerging threat of industrial action over Christmas and the New Year.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the two-day walkout, which finished at midnight, made a significant impact, causing disruption to a number of the Corporation's TV news and radio programmes.

Members mounted picket lines across the country amid calls for a motion of no confidence in the Corporation's Director-General, Mark Thompson.

Another 48-hour strike is being planned on November 15 and 16

The BBC said the fall-out from the strike was being kept to a minimum, claiming that most viewers would not notice a drop in service. A spokesman said: "It is not totally back to normal but not far off. It may not be quite as polished as it usually is, but for most viewers it will be the same service they are used to."

Despite many of the Corporation's journalists joining the action, viewing figures for news bulletins remained "more or less" in line with what is usual, the BBC said.

Leaders of the NUJ will next week consider calling industrial action over the festive break unless there is a breakthrough in the deadlocked row, sources said. "That would force managers and editors to work over the bank holidays," said one source.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said the second day of the strike was again strongly supported and he maintained there was disruption to radio and TV news programmes. Speaking from a picket line in Glasgow, he said: "News programmes have virtually been written off in Scotland and the BBC has been disrupted again."

Mr Dear said journalists now had little trust in the BBC management and revealed he had received calls for a petition of no confidence in Mr Thompson. "They have got so many things wrong, from executive pay to the freezing of the licence fee as well as the cuts to journalists' pensions."

Although Radio 5 Live was forced to cancel programmes on Saturday, BBC Breakfast was on air on BBC One and the News Channel, and Radio 4's flagship Today programme, which was cancelled on Friday, went ahead.


From Belfast Telegraph