Pan-BBC Christmas strike averted

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A strike by journalists across the BBC, which was due to be held before Christmas, has been avoided.

It follows a settlement between the National Union of Journalists and BBC management on compulsory redundancies at the Asian Network, after the station's headcount had been halved recently due to cost-cutting.

However union chapels at BBC Scotland will meet on Monday to discuss taking industrial action during the Christmas period "if management fail to deploy" members at risk of compulsory redundancy.

Start Quote

It is vital that BBC management make sure its deployment system works”

End Quote Sue Harris National Union of Journalists

In the past few weeks, the NUJ balloted BBC members on taking industrial action over compulsory job losses before the end of this year at Asian Network, and in 2013 at BBC Scotland, BBC News and the World Service.

Although the NUJ don't usually reveal the number of BBC members who vote in a ballot, it said there was "a good turnout" with 70.3% of those who voted opting for strike action and 84.1% for action short of a strike.

In an email to members, the union said they had reached a resolution with BBC management which included redeployment of some Asian Network staff to other jobs.

"It is vital that BBC management make sure that its deployment system works, so we do not lose experienced journalists and presenters because local-level managers are not making it work," said Sue Harris, NUJ national organiser on BBC matters.

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We are continuing to avoid compulsory redundancies”

End Quote BBC spokesperson

She said the ballot result showed a "clear mandate for strike action" on compulsory redundancies as the BBC continued its DQF cost-cutting plans.

"We do not want to see licence-fee payers' money being spent on redundancy pay for members when there are jobs in the corporation for them to go to…We have a number of potential redundancies in other departments across the BBC and we will be working to resolve them - or else we will be prepared to take action."

A BBC spokesperson said the corporation had met its redeployment commitments "in a timetable agreed with the unions and we are continuing with our considerable efforts to avoid compulsory redundancies in other areas of the BBC".

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, has also called on BBC director general-designate Tony Hall to halt cuts while the corporation attempts to resolve the problems following the dropping of a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile.

"It is a wake-up call to the BBC - it needs to take the opportunity to halt the assault on frontline journalism and put in place measures to shore up news and current affairs before it is too late," she said.

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