Entertainment & Arts

BBC staff strike date announced

Exterior of New Broadcasting House in central London
The 12-hour walkout will take place on Thursday 28 March

BBC staff are to stage a 12-hour strike from 12 noon on Thursday, 28 March in a continuing row over job cuts.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and technical union Bectu voted in favour of the walkouts.

The latest industrial action follows a one-day strike by NUJ members on 18 February which affected programmes.

Another strike by union members in Scotland that had been due to take place on Friday and Monday has now been called off.

The BBC is cutting about 2,000 jobs over five years as part of its Delivering Quality First programme.

The NUJ vote was 61% in favour of stoppages, while backing among Bectu members was 56%.

Both unions were also in favour of action short of a strike, with 80% of NUJ members and 81% of Bectu's supporting it.

"BBC staff have today rejected management's attempts to create a modern-day BBC sweatshop," said Bectu leader Gerry Morrissey.

Schedule disruption

"Current demands on staff are unacceptable and with more job cuts planned it is essential that the BBC takes stock of the impact of DQF on its workforce."

Those sentiments were echoed by Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ, who accused the BBC of deciding "not to properly engage" with its members' concerns.

NUJ members staged a 24-hour walkout on 18 February that changed some schedules and affected several programmes, including BBC Breakfast and Radio 4's Today.

Next week's strike, which is over job cuts, workload and claims of harassment, has the potential to affect Easter bank holiday schedules.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said the corporation had had "constructive meetings" with the unions in recent weeks but said its position on compulsory redundancies remained unchanged.

"We must progress with those given the significant savings we have to make and strike action simply will not change this," the spokesperson continued.

"We continue to work extremely hard to redeploy staff and have already succeeded in redeploying nearly double the number of people that have been made redundant.

"We hope with such a low turn-out and relatively small numbers voting for a strike that the unions will reconsider taking industrial action."

Bectu told the BBC News website that 39% of the 3,800 BBC Bectu members affected by DQF had voted in the ballot. The NUJ declined to provide a similar breakdown.

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