Entertainment & Arts

BBC staff vote in favour of strike action

Exterior of New Broadcasting House in central London
Image caption The date or dates of the industrial action will be announced on Thursday

The BBC is facing another strike by its journalists and other staff that could potentially have a significant impact on the corporation's output.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and technical union Bectu voted in favour of walkouts in a dispute over job cuts.

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

The date or dates of the industrial action will be announced on Thursday.

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.

The ballot follows a one-day strike by NUJ members on 18 February that resulted in programmes being affected and some schedules being changed.

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

"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.

'Low turn-out'

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.

Union members in Scotland will be on strike on Friday and Monday over the compulsory redundancy row.

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