Output hit as journalists go on strike

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The Today Programme and BBC Breakfast were among the early casualties of Monday's strike by National Union of Journalists members at the BBC.

Radio 4's flagship news programme did not go out, while a mixture of the News Channel and repeats ran on BBC One in place of the regular breakfast show.

Radio 4's World at One has been cancelled, together with PM and The World Tonight. BBC One news updates are also affected, while news programmes in Scotland and Wales have been shortened or cancelled.

The BBC apologised to the audience for disruption to the schedules as journalists stage a one day nationwide walk-out over compulsory redundancies. Many big name presenters and correspondents are expected to stay away from work in support, while staff are picketing the entrances to some BBC buildings.

The union is calling on the BBC to find alternative jobs for around 30 of its members who face redundancy at the end of this financial year. Those affected include staff at BBC News, World Service, English Regions and at BBC Scotland, where the industrial action started.

Posts are also expected to close at Asian Network, Newsbeat, Radio 5 live and Big Screens.

In Scotland, where nine journalists are set to lose their jobs at the end of March, a 'work to rule' was introduced just over two weeks ago; the ongoing action was extended across the country from Friday.

Redeployment promises

The NUJ, which balloted members on the industrial action before Christmas, claims the BBC has not kept its redeployment promises.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: 'The BBC stands prepared to waste public money on needless redundancies rather than secure redeployment opportunities for those at risk.

'This demonstrates the significant failures of some managers to uphold key aspects of the redeployment agreement, let alone the spirit of the deal.'

The BBC said it was 'disappointed' that the strike had gone ahead.

'Unfortunately industrial action does not alter the fact that the BBC has significant savings targets and as a consequence may have to make a number of compulsory redundancies,' it said in a statement.

'We have made considerable progress in reducing the need for compulsory redundancies through volunteers, redeployment and cancelling vacant positions and we will continue with these efforts.

The job losses are the result of Delivering Quality First plans to save 20% by 2017.

Negotiations between the BBC and the union are continuing.

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