Members of the National Union of Journalists and Bectu will stop work at midday on Thursday in a move likely to hit live programming including the BBC News channel, BBC TV and radio news bulletins, and scheduled shows on national and local radio stations. BBC staff members of both unions are already on a work to rule, reported The UK Guardian.
In February, when the NUJ staged a one day strike over compulsory redundancies, programs including Radio 4’s Today and BBC1’s Breakfast were replaced by repeats. Other shows, including 5 Live Breakfast and Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music program, had stand-in presenters.
The ongoing industrial dispute will be one of the pressing issues for new director general Lord (Tony) Hall to deal with when he officially joins the BBC on Tuesday, along with steadying the ship after the Jimmy Savile scandal and hiring directors of television and news.
The unions are protesting at the BBC’s plans to axe 2,000 jobs as part of its Delivering Quality First cost-saving program. The NUJ has also presented a dossier of evidence from members to the BBC’s review of how it handles allegations of bullying and harassment, headed by Dinah Rose QC, which it said revealed a shocking picture of widespread bullying and harassment and a failure by management to deal with those responsible.
A BBC spokeswoman told the paper: “We are extremely disappointed that the unions are going ahead with strike action and apologize to our audiences for the disruption to services. We have had constructive meetings with the unions in recent weeks and whilst we’re unable to postpone planned compulsory redundancies for six months as they requested, we do agree that stress and workload are areas of real concern. If workloads are going up because of the pressures of working in a 24/7 digital media environment and implementing savings, it’s in everyone’s interest to understand the issues and work with individuals, their managers and the unions to address it.”