BBC strike hailed a great success
18 February 2013
Flagship national and regional news programmes across the BBC network were pulled as the NUJ's strike against compulsory redundancies was hailed a huge success.
Skeleton staffs of managers struggled to provide a threadbare service which provoked adverse comments from listeners and viewers. The action meant that Radio 4's Today programme, World at One, PM and Newsnight were forced off the air. Breakfast TV was severely disrupted.
NUJ official pickets and supporters – up to 50 or 60 people in some centres –ensured wide public awareness of the union's message that making compulsory redundancies while at the same time advertising posts elsewhere in the corporation is not acceptable.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, pointed out that the jobs crisis which had created the strike was the result of the licence fee settlement imposed by the government behind closed doors in 2010.
"We hope the new BBC director general seizes the chance to push for a renegotiation of the licence fee settlement. That deal froze the licence fee and foisted an additional £340 million of spending commitments on the BBC, setting the corporation on a path of decline that threatens our world-acclaimed public service broadcaster.
"We're seeing the impact of those cuts now, and thanks to the strategic decisions of senior BBC management they're translating into a clear attack on quality programming and journalism at the BBC."
Michelle Stanistreet condemned the ill-informed comments by prime minister David Cameron on the successful strike by BBC journalists. He had claimed there were no grounds for Monday's strike by journalists at the BBC because the corporation was 'a well-funded broadcaster' after a 'fair' licence feel deal in 2010.
The general secretary said:
"David Cameron's comments confirm what we all know – he's clueless about the need for working people to fight for jobs and public services."
But she stressed the need for BBC management to seek now to resolve its dispute with the corporation's journalists and other staff.
"The action has been a huge success and I hope it has made BBC managment sit up and start to take us seriously when we say we will not accept our members being put at risk of compulsory redundancy, while at the very same time they are advertising job vacancies. It is a monumental waste of talent and experience. Paying needless redundancies is a waste of public money.
"As always, we will continue to engage with the BBC. It is disappointing that our efforts to negotiate did not meet with similar commitment from the BBC to resolve this dispute. Indeed, the report back to ACAS by the BBC was that they were too busy preparing for the strike, and they simply did not have time to try and resolve the dispute… You really couldn't make it up.
"We have made a simple request of the BBC – together with the our sister unions Bectu and Unite. We want a six-month moratorium on the so-called Delivering Quality First cuts. We want time to assess the damage these cuts are doing to journalism and programming and we want to ensure there is adequate time to make sure any redundancies are voluntary.
"These discussion need to be had with the incoming Director General – we need real leadership from the top of the BBC to address the ongoing problems that are resulting in clear industrial problems.
"In the meantime, the NUJ work-to-rule continues and we will begin preparations to reballot members as the current ballot expires later this month. Please continue your discussions with your chapel about how best to operate the work to rule on a local level – any queries contact your BBC secondee or the broadcasting office."
She congratulated NUJ members across the BBC for the success of their action, which followed a massive ballot vote for strike.
All output on BBC Radio Scotland was severely disrupted, with effective cancellation of nearly 8 hours of scheduled broadcasting, including Good Morning Scotland. The prestigious Call Kay phone-in was been cancelled because Kay Adams did not cross the picket and Fred MacAulay's morning programme was cancelled.
At the BBC's newly opened Media City in the North West, all three buildings were picketed by up to 30 journalists, with a massive effect on output.
At BBC Monitoring, with close to 100 per cent turnout of NUJ members, the strike had a severe effect on the UK operations of the Reading centre.
Journalists at the BBC's most southerly outpost in Jersey said they enjoyed very positive reaction from the public in support of their strike, with many people commenting on a sharp drop in the quality of output.
BBC Jersey NUJ chapel © Private
The BBC's most westerly station – Radio Foyle in Derry – lost all news and programme output since the strike began in the early morning.
In Derby, managers were forced to stand in for striking journalists, leading one picket to comment: "We wonder what they do most of the time if they can now find time to stand in for us. Maybe the top bosses need to reconsider whose jobs are essential and who should be considered for redeployment."
In Birmingham, the strike had a serious effect on BBC output, including disrupting the corporation's website coverage for England.
- BBC Television Panorama special on horsemeat was kebbabed.
- BBC2 News at 1130am from BBC World was off.
- Members in Paris, Moscow, Brussels and Berlin joined the action.
Reports, messages and images from the day
Radio Foyle picket line, complete with Radio Foyle
kids and some politicians © Private
Three rather glamorous Radio Foyle colleagues doing their
union duty © Private
There was NO output from Radio Foyle throughout the day. The chapel received tremendous support from others inside the building (BECTU members stayed away, as did those who weren't members of any trade union) and from those who normally drop in. That includes the postie who didn't cross the picket line, many of our local politicians, and fellow NUJ members from the print sector who popped along to offer solidarity.
We normally opt away from Radio Ulster between 07.00 and 17.00, but even Ulster struggled to provide output. First thing in the morning there was 5Live instead … It's been a good experience for our many younger staffers and flexi-colleagues. We had a big uptake of NUJ membership in the run-up to the strike, and that'll stand us in good stead in the future. And here are a couple of pics of the picket line, one of them complete with Radio Foyle kids and some politicians, the other depicting three rather glamorous colleagues doing their union duty … All the best!
Dear BBC journalists,
Congratulations on your action in defense of jobs at the BBC. You are entirely right to fight off compulsory redundancies. They could pay for these jobs from the taxi fares to Manchester.
Big up to all those of the NUJ on strike today from UCU Cambridge regional college branch & also rebel arts radio, we will be giving you a shout out tonight.
Pete m & Jill
BBC Belfast strikers outside © Private
Strikers outside as management read a 5 min bulletin in place of the usual regional opt.
Hello to all those who have supported the bbc strike. Good luck and I hope you succeed in your fight.
Sarah Duncan, Vice president St Helens and Newton NASUWT
On behalf of the Syndicat National de la Presse Marocaine (SNPM), I wish you the best of luck with your strike this Monday, 18 February, against compulsory redundancies at the BBC.
I was shocked to hear that NUJ members across the BBC remain at risk of compulsory redundancy. It is appalling that experienced and skilled BBC staff are facing this situation and losing their livelihood.
Our thoughts are with you and all our NUJ sisters and brothers as you go on strike against this dreadful decision. The future of BBC journalists and quality journalism are at risk. We call on the BBC to accept constructive proposals submitted by the NUJ to resolve this labour dispute.
We stand with you and are ready to help in any way we can.
Solidarity to all NUJ members throughout the BBC who are taking part in today’s strike against job cuts and in defence of quality journalism. The widespread success of today’s action sends a powerful message to BBC management. Congratulations to those taking part in the strike and organising it. Once again our members are standing up for journalism and each other.
Ian McGuinness, NUJ Assistant Organiser, Ireland
On behalf of the Irish Times NUJ chapel, I would like to extend the best wishes, solidarity and support of members to colleagues and friends at the BBC who are fighting plans to cut 2,000 jobs through enforced redundancies.
Éanna Ó Caollaí, Joint FOC at The Irish Times
NUJ BBC Hereford and Worcester:
Programmes: The normally double-headed breakfast programme was down to a single presenter.
News and Sport: The newsroom was pretty much out on strike.
Online: Of our two news online staff, both were out the office today.
A number of non-union staff refused to cross a picket line - more than during previous disputes, so this was encouraging.
BBC Belfast © Private
CWU is 100% supportive of the NUJ’s strike and will not be doing any media work with the BBC while strike action is ongoing.Solidarity and best wishes to all NUJ members at the BBC.
A short message of solidarity for striking NUJ members today. So important we take a stand against job losses. Not watching BBC today as my small contribution, feels too much like crossing your picket line.
Kate, UCU member and licence fee payer, Edinburgh.
As a trade union secretary who had dealt with the loss of nearly 600 jobs (approximately a quarter of our workforce) over four years, and with more to come I know how hard it is to deal with compulsory redundancies.
We have locally kept those to a minimum either by way of voluntary severance, early retirement or by other means but in the end I appreciate it is only by industrial action that the employer can be held to book properly.
Therefore, it is good to see that the tradition of militancy is alive and well in my old industry.
I offer my full support on behalf of my Branch and best wishes for a successful resolution of your dispute.
Laurie Pocock, Branch Secretary of Croydon UNISON
Good luck everyone – very impressed by your stance and wish you success in making the BBC understand that lowly-paid new staff cannot replace experienced news teams.
Yet again the members at the BBC set an example to the rest of the union and to the whole union movement. Yet again they are having to take action to save the BBC from its own managers. Everyone who cares about the BBC should support them.
Tim Gopsill, Former editor of the Journalist
Au nom de l'Union Burundaise des Journalistes (UBJ), je vous souhaite la meilleure des chances avec votre grève ce lundi, 18 Février, contre les licenciements abusifs à la BBC.
Nous sommes très choqués d'apprendre que les membres de la NUJ à travers la BBC restent menacés de licenciement obligatoire. Il est très regrettable que le personnel expérimenté et compétent de la BBC soient particulièrement confrontés à une situation de perdre leur gagne-pain.
Nos pensées sont avec vous et avec tous nos frères et sœurs de la NUJ au moment où vous allez en grève contre cette maladie épouvantable. L'avenir des journalistes de la BBC et du journalisme de qualité sont à risque. Nous appelons la BBC à accepter des propositions constructives présentées par la NUJ pour résoudre ce conflit de travail.
Nous sommes avec vous et nous sommes prêts à aider de toutes les manières possibles.
Amicalement et syndicalement.
Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions in Sri Lanka sends solidarity message of Sri Lanka Journalists and Media Workers who fully support to Journalists and Media Workers in the BBC struggle for protect public broadcasting and journalist rights.
We wish you every success in achieving your goals.
Dharmasiri Lankapeli, General Secretary, Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions (FMETU), Sri Lanka
I support NUJ members at BBC in their action to protect quality, services and jobs.
Stephanie Shaw, NUJ member and TV licence payer
Very best wishes for your action today.
Martin Booth, Cambridge Health UNISON
Good luck everyone – very impressed by your stance and wish you success in making the BBC understand that lowly-paid new staff cannot replace experienced news teams.
Good luck with the strike. Thank you for taking a stand.
Jill Eastland from UCU
We send strength and solidarity to NUJ members on strike today. Our members working for the council and in other sectors are under tory gov attack from all sides. We stand together and with you comrades.
UNISON Cambridgeshire County Branch
BBC Radio Merseyside picket from 06.00 to 15.00 approx. Solid support including non-members. Breakfast, mid-morning and afternoon presenters who are non-union didn't work.
The station took Radio Lancashire's programming until 13.00 and pre-recorded programmes followed which means regular output was disrupted. Reaction on station Facebook site was overwhelmingly in favour with some negative comments towards Radio Lancs staff who have worked. Positive reaction from passers-by and local people have shown support with free teas, coffees, toast etc. Support also shown by local NUJ and PCS.
BBC Bristol picket © Simon Chapman
Staff and supporters picketed both entrances to BBC Bristol from 08.00, handing out leaflets and talking to other BBC staff. The strike was well supported by NUJ members and others joined the picket line including a representative from the University student paper.
On behalf of the Public and Commercial Services Union and our Scottish Regional committee please accept a message of solidarity and support to NUJ members at the BBC who are taking industrial action today in defence of jobs.
PCS believes that job cuts are not necessary and that we should fight compulsory redundancies. These are vital public services which must be maintained. There is an alternative - investment in public services.
Yours in solidarity,
Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish secretary and Derek Thomson, Chair PCS Scotland Committee
Norwich pickets © Private
Had a good turn out of NUJ members from Online, Radio and TV. Picket supported by UNITE and also by UNISON members in Norwich who refused to be interviewed by a member of the BBC because he wasn't a member of the NUJ and wasn't on strike. Anglia TV also turned out to report the strike. Radio Norfolk NUJ freelancers, refused to work.
And a number of Bectu members refused to cross the picket line.
On behalf of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions I wish to send greetings and support for your campaign to defend employment.
Keep up the campaign to save public service broadcasting service – and jobs of course. What a shame. Hopefully, the public will rally around and shame the BBC into changing their mind this time. Enough jobs have been shed.
Bernie Ní Fhlatharta, Journalist and member of West of Ireland NUJ branch based in Galway
Hi Sisters and Brothers,
Best of luck in your action today. Journalism has been cut too much already.
Anton McCabe, Secretary of Derry and North West NUJ Ireland Branch and Secretary of Omagh Trades Union Council.
Keep up the pressure on BBC “management”.
Jeremy Aspinall, FoC at Immediate Media Chapel (formerly BBC Worldwide chapel)
Birmingham strikers © Charles David
Sending full support of NIPSA to your colleagues in the BBC.
Walkout by NUJ members at BBC Monitoring almost totally solid. Insider reports newsroom "very sparsely populated". Several crucial teams completely or almost completely shut down for the day with consequent loss of products. BBC Monitoring members are still in disgust following a downsizing in 2011 that led to major redundancies and are fully in support of their colleagues in Scotland who are facing the same process.
On behalf of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists, we send you strong expression of support and solidarity in your just protest against compulsory redundancies and cuts across BBC.
These damaging measures are an open attack on the ability of the BBC to fulfill its responsibilities as a world known and respected public service broadcaster.
All journalists have the right and duty to publicly ask the question Who has an interest in mutilating BBC!?
Yours in solidarity,
Anton Filic, TUCJ President and Jasmina Popovic, TUCJ EC Member, IFJ EC Member
As the need for good journalism grows daily, it is heartening to see so many people standing up for the best of British trade unionism and press quality. This is hardly really about just money, but about the future of public broadcasting.
Anita Bennett, MSTAT
I am writing to express UNISON’s full support and solidarity for your union’s strike action. Your campaign is to be applauded and the stand you are taking today has our full backing.
UNISON members are facing similar attacks, with plans to cut jobs leading to redundancies, and are feeling increasingly undervalued and demoralised. I hope that your union’s action today is successful and has the desired outcome for the benefit of your members.
Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary
The picket at BBC Oxford went well. The Labour Party and Green Party leaders on Oxfordshire County Council refused to cross the picket line. They were due in the studio at 9am on Radio Oxford for a debate about the county council budget. Instead they were on the phone. Also the 6.30 pm news was reduced from its usual thirty minutes to a mere five minute bulletin supplied from Southampton.
BBC TV Yorkshire pickets © Private
I am sending a note of support to you today on your industrial action.
Radio Ulster not quite the same this morning without your input.
Pamela Dooley, Chairperson NI Committee ICTU
Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) fully supports the strike by the BBC staff. May we also take this as an opportunity to thank NUJ for solidarity and assistance provided for media workers who had to flee Sri Lanka due to their quality reporting and fighting for media rights.
Bashana Abeywardane on behalf of the Executive Committee of the JDS
No front line presenters on BBC Radio 5 Live during the day (which comes from Salford) NO Nicky Campbell, NO Shelagh Fogarty, NO Victoria Derbyshire, NO Richard Bacon, NO Peter Allen.
Great to be texted a photo of my former BBC Radio Stoke colleagues on the picket line this morning...."freezing, slightly blurry, but determined" might be the catchline for the image. Good to see it's a solid strike and that some big names have come out in support of the cause. All the best with the rest of the day and with getting the BBC to see that it would be easy to end the dispute.
Stuart Fear ex BJ + FoC @ BBC Radio Stoke
BBC Leeds picket line © Private
The latest shift on the BBC Leeds picket line - no-one working on online, radio and television programmes disrupted.
PCS NUJ Chapel wishes to offer our support to NUJ members on strike today to protect jobs and services at the BBC. It's plain to see, and hear, that the action is having a real impact. We are proud that fellow members are standing up for the future of quality journalism.
In solidarity, James Davies PCS FoC
Full support for colleagues on strike.
Mary Maher, freelance sector, Irish Executive Councul NUJ
Pickets, pooches and prams at the BBC in Inverness
where the axe is falliing © Private
The strike action has been very effective in Northern Ireland – I woke up to Radio Five Live this morning instead of the normal programme! I would like to send a message of solidarity to our colleagues in the NUJ and I hope the action you are taking proves successful.
Avril Hall-Callaghan, general secretary, UTU
We fully support the strike of our colleagues in the BBC who are fighting to defend public broadcasting. The value of BBC information quality should not be compromised by loss of talented and experienced journalists who have contributed with their work to the BBC highly regarded all over the world.
Public broadcasting is part of the democratic process highly valued in our country as well and for that reason journalists working in Greek Public Broadcaster ERT have been on striking mobilization for the past two weeks struggling for labour relations and decent work conditions to secure quality of information of Greek society.
George Savvides, President Panhellenic Federation of Journalists Unions
Fraternal and sisterly greetings to all the BBC strikers from the NUJ Black Members Council, NUJ Disabled Members Council and NUJ Equality Council. Brilliant day of action. Well done.
Lena Calvert, NUJ Equality Officer
Solidarity and support to all members on the picket lines today. Great to see such solid support for the action.
Nicola Coleman, NUJ Irish Organiser
It’s always easier to focus on your own woes, and to let them eclipse others. I want to send a message of support from Sussex UCU. I hope your action is successful in its aims, and thank you all collectively for the coverage that you’ve given the current Sussex staff and student campaign to halt management outsourcing proposals.
We’re linked as I see it by a common fraternal thread, fighting the cynical attempts to use recession to drive through unwanted and unwarranted ideological changes.
Rob French, Vice President and Treasurer, Sussex UCU
As a regular viewer and listener to the BBC I send greetings and solidarity to the journalists who are on strike today. On the occasions when I have been resident in the US, the World Service has meant a lot to me and I know that BBC journalists are well respected in the States.
I wish you every success in achieving your goals.
Rita Jackson, Suffolk
On behalf of the Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers JUADN, I send message of Athenian journalists unwavering support to our colleagues in the BBC struggle in defence of public broadcasting.
We fully endorse your struggle along with our colleagues working in Greek public broadcaster ERT who for the past two weeks are fighting for the same purpose and with great personal sacrifices are participating in JUADN striking mobilization in ERT.
Our Union is fighting to defend labour relations in Greek public broadcaster ERT, irreversibly affected under the pretext of our country’s dire economic situation thus jeopardizing quality of information provided to Greek society.
Colleagues we are fighting alongside this campaign and as our professional duty calls, we will be walking together the path in defending public broadcasting in Europe, joining the IFJ and EFJ public broadcasting campaign all over the world.
Dimitris Trimis, President Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers
Message of support from MA journalism students at Salford University:
Good luck and solidarity to BBC journalists on strike today over job cuts. The BBC's refusal to enter into meaningful negotiations is a disgrace. The proposed cuts are an affront to quality journalism and will have a disastrous effect on the future of news reporting-a key tool in any democracy that ensures the public are informed and individuals and organisations are held to account. Your fight is our fight. Keep strong.
12 NUJ members out in Aberdeen. That's almost all members on picket duty.
Members also out and picketing on Orkney and Shetland. No local radio bulletins.
BBC Radio York strikers © Private
The BBC Radio York strikers have been on duty with their protest since 5am.
Good luck to all. Stand together and you speak a language even management understands. Three words will do: enough is enough.
Ian Bell, freelance and former Scotsman Foc.
NUJ rep Pierre Vicary gives Swiss TV interview in German.
NUJ member Howard Zhang gave an interview in Mandarin to China State TV.
The Spanish Federation of Association of Journalists (FAPE) which is the most representative union of journalists in Spain want to declare our support for colleagues from the BBC during the strike against compulsory redundancies and cuts. BBC is for all journalists of the world and best example of professionalism, respect for the basic principles of ethics and the propoer use of technologies. We demand you preserve jobs and democracy.
Eugene McGlone, President of ICTU supports your campaign.
On behalf of 80,000 members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), please accept our full support for your strike action.
I also have no doubt that your campaign to defend jobs and quality journalism will have clear public support.
The magnificent show of strength and support for the strike action by NUJ members today sends a clear message that management need to negotiate seriously to address your entirely justifiable concerns.
Bob Crow, RMT general secretary
All the best to everyone on strike today from a former colleague and current freelance-with you in spirit, we've saved Radio Foyle before and will protect it now.
Leeds picket line © Private
BBC Radio Nottingham's Managing Editor was forced to read news bulletins as journalists from radio, TV and online staged a picket line at the BBCs Nottingham HQ. The all speech breakfast show was replaced with music and morning TV bulletins were taken off the air.
Lunchtime Look North is likely to be replaced by Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers during the NUJ strike.
Belfast pickets © Private
Good luck in resisting compulsory redundancies.
Absolutely 100 per cent behind colleagues in the BBC.
Donal O’Donoghue, Dublin Broadcasting Branch
Dear NUJ Brother and Sisters
ASLEF is fully aware of the way journalists – and journalism – have been attacked over the past few years.
In general terms we support the efforts of the National Union of Journalists in its attempt to bring security, quality and pride back to those engaged in the craft of journalism; and in particular we offer our full support in the action you are taking today at the BBC. Our only regret is that a bullish management with distorted priorities has made this necessary.
Mick Whelan, general secretary, ASLEF the train drivers’ union
Lauren Laverne & Gideon Coe didn't show for 6Music. The station also had to cancel a session from Johnny Marr.
Paul Mason on picket line with Michelle Stanistreet at Broadcasting House.
Michelle Stanistreet arrived at Broadcasting House to give interviews with the Guardian's Josh Halliday and Chinese State TV.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:
"The strike is obviously solid and very well supported. It's brilliant to see so many members who have come out to support quality journalism and programming."
Pickets at TV Centre London © Private
We support the action you have taken today to defend jobs and journalistic standards across the BBC. Managers unfortunately only realise how much workers do (and how little they do) when workers are not at their desks.
CIEH National Union Journalists chapel
Wales TUC General Secretary Martin Mansfield said: "Wales TUC offers our full support to striking NUJ members at the BBC today.
"Every effort must be made to ensure that these talented and committed journalists continue provide the impartial public service output we need in Wales and the rest of the BBC.
"The turnout by NUJ members shows the strength of feeling on this issue and the Wales TUC stands united with all those taking action in Wales today."
Picket was in place from 5.45 at Worcester. Union staff solid, while more non-union staff than previously not going in. Not too many on the line itself as many away on leave etc, but the line will be staffed between 5.45am and 11.30am. Picket is at Worcester studios on Hylton Road.
NUJ members on picket line at the BBC in Hull © Private
Panorama special on horsemeat tonight is kebbabed.
BBC2 News at 11.30 from BBC World is off.
Pickets at Gloucester this morning.
Members of the BBC Paris bureau are on strike today.
North East Labour MSP Richard Baker joins striking BBC journalists in Aberdeen.
Howard Zhang was first to arrive at Old Broadcasting House at 5.00. He said:
"Soon others arrived and we were able to have placards out at all the exits and entrances at Old and New Broadcasting House. There has been great support from members of other unions. The strike seems to have caused disruption. There will be a picket here all day, so come along and show your support."
Moscow has no news correspondent working.
Europe has no news correspondent in the Brussels office, nobody in Berlin.
Nobody on the conference call from Africa or Beijing.
A cold fresh wind hasn't stopped members from picketing outside the BBC in Hull.
The Leader of Hull City Council, Cllr. Stephen Brady, has withdrawn from an interview on the David Burns Mid-Morning Show on BBC Radio Humberside today after he heard about the NUJ strike.
BBC Turkish on strike today © Private
BBC Ipswich pickets © Private
Turned on BBC radio 4 this morning (our link to the UK as we have lived in France since retirement) and found a food programme in place of the news! As life-long members of the NUJ (and the BBC) we want you to know we support both of you: Let's get this sorted out fast - NUJ members need their jobs, and the Beeb needs you to provide a decent service!
Sue Anderson and Richard Churm
All the best in your dispute from me and my workmates!
Stuff the job losses and defend local bbc services.
Ozzy - unite cambridge and district branch
Writing to express my support for your campaign and aims. I hope you receive many more like this and that your disastrous management structure takes due note about where the cuts REALLY need to be, if we wish to preserve high quality independent journalism.
With best wishes
BBC Norfolk, Norwich
Regional TV and limited news across the country
Radio Norfolk strong support for strike from radio, TV newsroom and online.
A message of solidarity to all bbc workers under threat of redundancy. I am a senior lecturer and a UCU rep. We face redundancies where I work too.
Stay strong together.
TV centre picket line © Private
A message of solidarity to all bbc workers under threat of redundancy. I am a senior lecturer and a UCU rep. We face redundancies where I work too.
Stay strong together.
BBC Cardiff © Private
I am delighted to offer my full support to the NUJ in their struggle with the BBC. The rot must stop within the BBC and managers attempting to strong-arm staff into working is a prime example of the direction this great institution seems to be going.
As an ex FoC in the print union the NGA I have good reason to offer my support without hesitation. During the Messenger Newspaper dispute the NUJ stood by the NGA and came out in full support of its print colleagues.
Taking action of this nature is not easy and is a last resort, nobody takes this sort of a decision lightly and therefore I would like to finally say well done for the solidarity being shown today.
Alan Royston (ex FoC, Stockport Six)
Good luck to all strikers. In a democracy we cannot afford to dilute the quality and quantity of the impartial news information we receive. The scale of the public sector cuts we are experiencing is damaging to the economy and to the wider public good.
Diane Clark, Barnet Hertfordshire
Update from Nottingham and Derby - strong support for action today.
Solid support in Salford. Breakfast TV off air; 5 Live, Radio Manchester are both pale shadows of their real self! Radio Manchester Managing Editor expected to be presenting a curtailed North West Today/Tonight later today as no-one else is at work!
Picket line at the NNC Sussex Brighton studio © Private
BBC NUJ members have a proud record of defending their colleagues against compulsory redundancies. They have held to their policy through thick and thin and against all the odds. Their struggle is an example to this government that it cannot expect working people to accept cuts which effect working people lives, careers and the quality of the services they provide without making their voice and actions felt. The strike today must make the BBC think their through their decisions again - stop recruiting while others are being shown the door. Today makes me proud to be a NUJ member all over again. Unity is our strength.
John Fray retired DGS and Broadcasting Organiser 1990 - 20000
BBC Southampton picket line © Private
Jackson 4 cancelled their appearance today on Radio Manchester because of the strike. Security refused to erect crash barriers as they said it would antagonise the picket line so the Jackson 4 visit was cancelled.
BBC Monitoring, Reading © Private
All the best on your wonderful day of action. There is no place for compulsory redundancies in a publicly funded operation.
Gerry Curran Chairman of the NUJ in Ireland
BBC Coventry picket line © Private
Hope all is going well Michelle. In solidarity!
Kath - Manchester and Salford NUJ branch.
Solidarity to BBC NUJ members striking for jobs, fairness and public service.
Incompetent managers are not the future!
Good luck today
All best wishes from SERTUC
Congratulations on the response to the union’s call to defend jobs and standards at the BBC. Unity in action is what gives the BBC its essential coherence and strength of purpose. A strong NUJ emboldens management to meet its responsibility in fighting the attacks on public service broadcasting.
Mike Mckay, former FoC tv News
Fully support your actions today. The absence of journalists from Radio 4 news and Today programs this morning clearly demonstrate that outstanding quality of BBC broadcasting depends on its NUJ members. The BBC would do well to employ, train, and develop more journalists, not further desinew its output by redundancies.
Seems like the decimation of the BBC as we have known it.
Bill Baker NUJ member
Good luck with the action today. As a long-standing NUJ member, and former BBC employee, I am disappointed to hear that BBC management are on the brink of axing the jobs of some of its most experienced journalists. Its short-sighted and will not serve the BBC's long-term interests as a dependable and reliable source of news, that's globally respected. I very much hope both sides in the dispute can find an amicable solution. Sadly, sometimes only by withdrawing workers' labour through strike action, will management finally get the message that they need to talk and negotiate with their staff, not bully them into submission.
Ray Tostevin, Producer/Director
NUJ pickets at the front of the Mailbox,
Birmingham © Private
BBC Cumbria picket line
Best wishes - hope the day is a great success and your campaign victorious
Howard Stevenson (UCU)
BBC Belfast picket line © Private
BBC Belfast picket line
Solidarity - stand firm! The BBC is the UK's last surviving 'industrial champion' - a world class organization producing world class products. And its staff are its most prized asset. The government should nurture and invest in the BBC, not implement cuts. People the world over are relying on you to stand up for your rights, because by doing so you are standing up for the BBC. From a fellow NUJ member.
Dear NUJ members
Very best of luck today with your strike at the BBC - and all power to you.
Clare Fermont, UNITE rep at Amnesty International's International Secretariat
Six person picket line outside Radio Suffolk in Ipswich, radio, online and telly members. Not much on air disruption but drive presenter changed and news ed reading bulletins.
I generally only listen and watch BBC as it is by far superior. I was surprised to hear the Sue Rae show this morning – she is doing her best but she is continuity not presenting, journalism etc. I was surprised and indeed let down by the fact that there has been very little coverage of this proposed strike.
The BBC has suffered from the cuts over the past few years. It is bringing in less experienced less able people and whilst it is still superior as it has further to fall it is not patch on the service before Alistair Campbell/Tony Blair /New Labour helped to destroy it after the Andrew Gilligan sexed up dossier debacle – which by the way was true but no one seems to remember that now.
I shall listen today even if it is just to see how much the BBC needs the professional staff that it is getting rid of. I pleaded with you years ago to not destroy our beloved BBC and I plead with you again. Cut the pay of the celebrities (including the so-called famous presenters) not the real people who do the real work – I have probably never heard of them.
BBC World & the News Channel went to joint overnight service at midnight rather than the usual 1am. It was the normal co-presentation from Singapore, but mainly tape packages and pre-rec programmes.
Management have had to bring a presenter on from France as all staff and freelancers in the UK are on strike.
Binmen working for Virridor refused to cross MediaCityUK picket line
Picket Line outside Quay House in MediaCityUK, Salford, just after 4am on strike day
Message of support to NUJ members on strike today. 'Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants' sends solidarity greetings to the 'National Union of Journalist' and all your members whom will be striking today at the BBC. We fully support your actions fighting to preserve jobs, your fight is our fight & we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in trying to preserve jobs for your members.
Being unemployed in 2013 is horrendous to say the least - the demonisation of benefit claimants is a national disgrace, the compulsory workfare & the stigma of having to sign on the dole awaits your members - unless you all stand firm.
Remain focused :) in Solidarity & Respect
Solidarity Greetings to the BBC strikers from NUJ Manchester and Salford Branch.
BBC Breakfast TV newsroom in MediaCityUK, Salford,
just after midnight on strike day © Private
BBC Radio 5 Live newsroom in MediaCityUK, Salford,
just after midnight on strike day © Private
BBC Sport newsroom in MediaCityUK, Salford,
just after midnight on strike day © Private
Tremendous turnout at NBH with great scene of newsroom emptying at midnight, led by Michelle Stanistreet and chapel reps. Non NUJ staff also shut down their workstations and joined colleagues leaving the building. Managers came in unexpectedly to load pressure onto people at the last minute but it failed badly. Today is off air, so is Breakfast and online surviving with their head of news coming in for the night shift. Thanks all your efforts! Let's make it solid tomorrow.
Journalists at the BBC's new flagship building logged off and left the building after NUJ members counted down the seconds to midnight and the strike commenced. It is clear that the action was already making a strong impact as managers arrived to staff graveyard shifts and it became clear that the strike would have a significant impact on output over the next 24 hours.
The french union of journalists SNJ CGT send you his warmest support on the occasion of your strike in BBC starting tonight.
The fight you are having now is very important to defend the journalists in your country and the quality of information in the BBC.
We have similar problems in France as job redundancies, budget cuts in the public service, and more precarious jobs in the print press as well as in the TV and radio.
Best wishes for your strike.
Patrick Kamenka, SNJ CGT France
La Asociación de la Prensa Uruguaya (APU), el sindicato único de los trabajadores de los medios de comunicación en Uruguay, expresa su total respaldo y solidaridad con la lucha que llevan adelante los compañeros británicos afectados por las arbitrarias medidas de recorte que aplica la cadena BBC.
Un gran abrazo solidario desde el Río de la Plata¡¡¡
Y a vuestras órdenes en lo que podamos colaborar
LUIS CURBELO, Secretario General de la APU, Secretario de Accion Política y Gremial de la & Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (FEPALC)
Michelle Stanistreet, said:
"NUJ members across the BBC are taking action to defend jobs and quality journalism at the corporation. They are angry and frustrated at the poor decisions being taken at the top of the BBC - decisions that are leading to journalists being forced out of their jobs and quality journalism and programming compromised.
"Instead of making sure that the redeployment process works properly in all areas of the BBC, managers are prepared to waste public money on needless redundancies and sacrifice the livelihoods of experienced and talented journalists, at the same time as advertising other jobs externally. It's particularly disappointing that the BBC has failed to engage meaningfully in attempts to resolve this dispute - an abdication of responsibility for a public service broadcaster."
NUJ picket line outside Quay House in MediaCityUK,
Salford, just after midnight on strike day © Private
NUJ members across the BBC - in Scotland, in BBC South, the Asian Network, Newsbeat, News, Five Live, the Big Screens, the World Service and English Regions - remain at risk of compulsory redundancy.
BBC jobs have been externally advertised while experienced and skilled staff, who face losing their livelihood, have not even been considered.
The NUJ has put forward constructive proposals to the BBC to resolve this dispute. The BBC has been asked for a moratorium on all job cuts for a six month period, to allow for talks and negotiation with the new Director General. So far the BBC has not responded to this request.
What you can do to help -
- Visit your local picket line to show solidarity.
- Send messages of support by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tweet your messages of support with the hashtag - #BBCStrike
- Email the BBC Trust to tell them you support the strike to stop the cuts email@example.com or if you would like to make a general comments or ask a question about the BBC you can call 03700 100 222; textphone 03700 100 212
- Ask your local MP to sign the BBC redundancies early day motion.
BBC strike picket lines:
- Broadcasting House (western, old and new) picket line from 05.30 to 18.00 with photo call at 11.00
- Television Centre will be picketed with a photo call at 11.00
- Millbank picket line will start at 08.00
Birmingham Mailbox picket will be from 05.00 to 14.00
Bristol picket on Whiteladies Road and Belgrave Road from 08.00 to 10.00
Cardiff pickets starting at 07.30 with photo call at 10.00
Derry pickets outside Radio Foyle from 06.30 onwards with photo call around midday
Glasgow picketing from Sunday midnight for half an hour then start again at 05.00
Best time to come along and offer support 09.00 to 12.00
Gloucestershire picketing from 08.00 to 09.00
Hereford & Worcester picketing from 05.30 to 12.00
Hull picketing from 10.00 to 14.00
Leicester picketing from 05.00 to 17.00 Newcastle aiming for picket lines from 05.00 to 15.00
Best time to attend to show support is 11.00
Norwich picketing between 07.00 to 13.00
Best time to attend to show support 11.00 to 1300
Nottingham picket line photo call at 10.00
Oxford picketing from 07.45 to 10.00 and best time for press is 09.00
Plymouth picketing 05.00 to 11.00
Reading, Caversham will picket from 06.30 to 14.00
Salford will have pickets at the three BBC Buildings (Dock House, Quay House and Bridge House). Aim to start picket at 04.00
Southampton picket line from 06.00 to 11.00 with photo call 08.30
Tunbridge Wells picket line from 06.00 to 11.00
For more details or information about picket lines not listed, to be put in contact with the local NUJ BBC reps or for updates, comments and quotes please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Messages of support -
On behalf of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and its 44 affiliates across the continent, I wish you the best of luck with your strike this Monday, 18 February, against compulsory redundancies at the BBC. I was shocked to hear that NUJ members across the BBC remain at risk of compulsory redundancy. It is very miserable dejection that experienced and skilled BBC staff are particularly facing a situation of losing their livelihood. Our thoughts are with you and all our NUJ sisters and brothers as you go on strike against this appalling condition. The future of BBC journalists and quality journalism are at risk. We call on the BBC to accept constructive proposals submitted by the NUJ to resolve this labour dispute. We stand with you and are ready to help in any way we can. In solidarity,
Omar Faruk Osman, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)
We express solidarity with our colleagues, BBC journalist who are fighting for their labor rights and quality of their professional duties. Public service broadcasting today plays very important role of key element in the dialogue of trust throughout all social groups. This role should not be underestimated. All attempts to silence or cut the voice of public broadcasting must meet strong resistance. We support our BBC colleagues in their struggle and we are confident that they will succeed. With solidarity,
Tim Shafir, Head of International Dept., Russian Union of Journalists
Full solidarity and support by the Italian Federation of Journalists (Fnsi) to the struggle of the BBC workers against the redundacy plan approved. Fnsi supports our British colleagues in their action.
Franco Siddi, Italian Federation of Journalists secretary general
The Media Workers Association of South Africa unequivocally supports the struggle waged by our comrades employed at the BBC. Unilateralism and abuse of managerial and corporate prerogative undermine the cornerstones and pillars of democratic values we have come to associate with the BBC. It is unacceptable that the management of the BBC insists on others to respect the concept of effective consultative process and then fail to practise the same when faced with difficult corporate choices.
We accept the need to restructure the operations of one of the world's most prominent and respected broadcasters, but we insist on respecting the notion that the BBC is without question a function of the men and women that populate its ranks. These are the people that must be genuinely consulted beyond untested considerations of expediency and convenience and we urge the management of the BBC to engage the leadership of the workers in finding solutions to jointly identified challenges confronting the BBC.
Decisions taken without the input of our colleagues and comrades amongst the workforce of the BBC are unsupported and we believe such unilateral decisions serve only to fuel animosity, distrust and unsavoury conflict.
We would warmly welcome and embrace reconsideration of the overlooking of the right to be consulted and for genuine appreciation of the rights of workers to be involved in decision making around the operations of the BBC, a lifetime commitment many may take for granted during these difficult times.
Tuwani Gumani, Media Workers Association of South Africa general secretary
Journalists in German dju (Deutsche Journalisten-Union) in ver.di express their strong solidarity for BBC colleagues going on strike this monday to protest against compulsory redundancies and cuts across the BBC.
BBC has a traditional high profile of high quality programming and this must be maintained. The German journalists' community is worried about announced cuts which endanger the ability of the BBC to fulfil its responsibilities as public service broadcaster. It supports all efforts of NUJ to get a moratorium on the cuts, which would have disastrous effects.
In the media landscape, public service broadcasting plays a more important role than ever before as watchdog of society. It upholds quality journalism, but the condition is that it has sufficient staff and financial ressources. Cuts are counterproductive.
For dju in ver.di, representing 30 000 journalists in Germany.
Wolfgang Mayer, International coordinator Deutsche Journalisten-Union
The Journalist Union Of Serbia (SINOS) extends its full support regarding the BBC employees' strike. We hope you will succeed in your struggle to protect your endangered rights. Media employees in Serbia are also waging a war with numerous problems at the workplace and are facing a very tough social and economic situation.
Dragana Cabarkapa, SINOS president
Frances O'Grady,TUC general secretary, Marc Gaier, BBC Radio Merseyside
chapel FoC and Paul Novak, TUC assistant general secretary © Private
The TUC is proud to stand alongside the NUJ in defence of public service broadcasting. These cuts are totally unnecessary and self-defeating. All the evidence shows that the public value a well-resourced, high quality BBC and are willing to pay for it. The only people looking for cuts are the Government and a management unwilling to stand up for quality broadcasting.
Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary
Unite sends its full support and solidarity to NUJ members taking strike action at the BBC across the UK on Monday against cuts which will only diminish the quality of the BBCs reporting and output. Unite believes that BBC should put its workforce and the highest standards of broadcasting first and foremost. These cuts will lower standards and dumb down quality journalism. They have to be opposed to ensure the BBC retains top quality reporters and journalists and maintains the highest journalistic standards.
Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary
Please convey solidarity greetings from the National Union of Teachers to colleagues in the NUJ who are taking strike action against job loss due to cuts in vital BBC services. Many NUT members will be habitual listeners to the World Service, I know I am. The quality of output will certainly reduce if some many jobs are lost. It is clear to us in the NUT that this Government should be investing in public services not cutting them. We wish you every success in your action.
Christine Blower, NUT general secretary
The members and officials of the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union send fraternal support to our colleagues in the BBC who find themselves with no alternative, than to withdraw their labour in an effort to protect their jobs. We urge the employer to stop this cull on jobs immediately and to get back around the table for meaningful negotiation.
Ronnie Draper, BFAWU general secretary
PCS pledges its full solidarity to NUJ members striking on Monday against the threatened 2000 job cuts that the corporation faces. It is ironic that in a week that the BBC hires the modern architect of workfare, James Punell, on a gargantuan salary, it forges ahead with job cuts that will damage vital public broadcasting services. We have written to all our offices to refuse to respond to BBC enquiries on Monday, and hope that BBC management will see sense and withdraw these damaging cuts. Yours in solidarity,
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary
The 'URTU' sends fraternal greetings and applauds the actions of comrades within the BBC, as they take part in industrial action on 18 February 2013. We wish them every success in their struggle.
Bob Monks, URTU general secretary
Advertising for posts while seeking at the same time to sack hundreds of dedicated journalists makes little sense and represents a waste of skills and talent. We need the decent journalism that the BBC is still, rightly, held in such esteem for, but that cannot be done on the cheap.
Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary
I offer you support for your actions over compulsory redundancies in the BBC. I am very concerned that compulsory redundancies at the BBC will badly affect the quality of programming it can produce.
The BBC is a world renowned public broadcaster, producing top quality programmes including news and current affairs, documentaries, drama and educational and cultural programmes.
The cuts as a part of Delivering Quality First are a huge risk to this. BBC Scotland alone could lose between 100 and 120 jobs in the run up to 2014 and the broadcasting challenges posed by the Commonwealth Games and the referendum on independence.
The corporation’s duty to provide detailed and impartial information as a public broadcaster is threatened at a time when the arguments for and against independence begin to be made. This is an extremely important decision for Scotland, and good public programming is essential if people are to receive balanced information.
I am also saddened to hear that you believe the BBC is refusing to enter meaningful negotiations over the redeployment of staff rather than compulsory redundancies. It is hard for anyone to lose employment in the current economic situation, but I can understand the anger that these job cuts come alongside newly advertised vacancies. I hope that negotiations with the BBC are forthcoming and that they change their position on compulsory redundancies.
I wish you success in defending quality public service broadcasting and the option of staff redeployment, and I commend NUJ members on standing by their colleagues at risk.
Katy Clark, Member of Parliament for North Ayrshire and Arran
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) back the NUJ in its action to protect the quality programming at the BBC.
“BBC journalists are at the forefront of the global battle to save public service broadcasting,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “Journalists worldwide applaud their courageous stand to save jobs and maintain quality programming.
"This plan has started having a damaging impact at the heart of the BBC and risks impairing its ability to provide one of the highest standards of broadcasting in the world,” added Boumelha.
“Tony Hall must agree with the NUJ for a moratorium on the cuts."
On behalf of the Irish Executive Council I extend solidarity to members at the BBC engaged in this important strike. We salute the commitment and determination of our colleagues throughout the BBC and stand with you in defence of jobs and quality journalism.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary
Solidarity and support from the Welsh Executive Council of the National Union of Journalists for your industrial action at BBC Wales on Monday 18 February 2013.
Your action will encourage and raise morale among all journalists – in Wales and more widely – who are facing redundancies and cuts.Your action is especially timely in Wales because of all the pressures that public service broadcasting has faced in recent years. And, the BBC’s plan to cut 2,000 jobs across the corporation will undoubtedly increase pressures on NUJ members and BBC staff, and regrettably result in a lowering of quality of output, despite the best efforts of those staff.
BBC cuts in coverage of Wales will impact massively. Combined with cuts that are taking place in print media in Wales – such as the current round of redundancies at Trinity Mirror and what looks like possible redundancies at Local World (formerly Northcliffe) - then your campaign to save jobs and quality programming in Wales becomes even more necessary.
We wish you every success with your action and offer our solidarity in whatever form you wish to draw upon it. I’m sure that fellow NUJ members will be alongside you on your picket lines.
Ken Smith, chairman NUJ Wales
Paula and I will be there in spirit with all those fighting for jobs and quality journalism at the bbc. We know from personal experience how job cuts put more pressure on staff who remain, lead to the bbc losing experienced staff and undermine public service broadcasting. Victory to the BBC strikers - fighting for jobs and quality journalism!
Jeremy and Paula Dear
I'm writing, as a member of the UNISON National Executive Council, and an officer of UNISON's Lambeth local government branch, to congratulate NUJ members taking strike action today in opposition to compulsory redundancies at the BBC.
Jon Rogers, Unison
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I write to express solidarity with your strike action at the BBC, and hope to be able to do the same in person at your Barrack Road Newcastle picket-line in the morning.
Martin Levy, President of Newcastle upon Tyne Trades Union Council
I support the NUJ in opposing cuts at the BBC.
Mary Russell, Dublin Freelance Branch
I am supporting the strike at the BBC, the cuts are putting the quality of BBC journalism at risk.
The BBC plans to cut 2,000 jobs some sections. The BBC has already lost more than 7,000 jobs since 2004. I would like you to say: NO TO CUTTING THE JOBS, FREE BBC, FREE JOURNALISM.
Kadim Lacin, Freelance Journalist for Turkish media in London
I am a professor who writes about media labour. I support your campaign.
Vincent Mosco, Professor Emeritus at Queen's University
Good luck everyone. As an ex BBC staffer I will be supporting you on the day, including joining the picket line in Southampton. The cuts in jobs are crazy and simply wrong. We are supporting public service broadcating. Why can't the BBC do the same?
To add your message of support please email: email@example.com.