Further strike called at Mailbox

Save BBC Birmingham banner A rally will take place on Thursday

Union members at the Mailbox in Birmingham are to stage a second strike over plans to move production of some radio and tv programmes to Bristol and Salford.

Some 80 posts are earmarked to move as shows including Countryfile, Coast and Hairy Bikers and Radio 4's Farming Today andThe Food Programme shift production base. BECTU says the relocations, which would also see some music shows moving out of Birmingham, is unfair to staff, makes no creative or financial sense for the BBC and risks turning Birmingham into a media 'ghost town'.

BECTU and the BBC met last week, followed by a union meeting in Birmingham on Friday. The BBC offered to extend the deadline for Vision staff to commit to moving by four weeks. BECTU's Helen Ryan told Ariel staff welcomed the extension, and the news that the BBC would continue talking about the proposals.

'We are more than happy to talk,' Ryan said, 'We welcome talking to try and reach a resolution.'

Staff at last Friday's meeting approved the idea of further action and the strike has been called for February 24. The DG will visit Birmingham on the 17th and the Unions have called an all-staff meeting on the 20th.

In an email to staff Pat Younge, chief creative officer Vision Productions, said: 'We hope that we can continue to negotiate with the union and this action won't be necessary.'

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