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BBC NUJ members balloted to vote for industrial action over compulsory job cuts

16 November 2012

BBC NUJ journalists are being balloted to take industrial action over compulsory job cuts at the Asian Network by December 31 and at BBC Scotland, BBC News and the World Service next year.

Sue Harris, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said:

"NUJ members at the BBC are facing an unprecedented threat to their jobs as a result of the BBC management's licence fee deal of autumn of 2010 and the resulting DQF initiative.
"BBC management chose not to fight this settlement, which froze the licence fee and burdened the BBC with an extra £340million spending commitments. As a direct result the BBC Asian Network is suffering the biggest cut of any single part of the BBC. Its budget has been cut virtually by half resulting in around half of its staff being without a job after 31st December 2012. The NUJ never agreed to these cuts.
"Since these cuts were announced at the beginning of this year, the NUJ has worked tirelessly to redeploy its affected members to other parts of the corporation.
"We will continue at local and national level to do everything we can to resolve the outstanding cases but we believe that ultimately if we cannot do this, NUJ members will need to stand up for the principle of no compulsory redundancies at the BBC."

The NUJ has been forced to take action because the BBC management has failed to honour a redeployment system. Experienced journalists at Asian Network will find themselves out of a job by the end of the year despite there being vacancies they could be offered. Asian Network, the BBC's national radio station for the Asian community, will also have to leave its Leicester base to studios in London. The Asian Network has traditionally been a launch pad for new Asian talent; Aasmah Mir, Anita Rani and Nikki Bedi started their careers there.

BBC NUJ members may also be asked to take industrial action to fight compulsory redundancies in Scotland, the World Service, World Service News and News planned for next spring. Journalists at BBC Scotland say that following cuts made last year the newsroom rotas are causing stress among staff with programmes being broadcast often with a skeleton staff.

Under the so-called Delivering Quality First programme the BBC is planning a 20 per cent cut to its budget which could result in the loss of 2,000 jobs.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"It is the BBC management's fault that the union is having to ballot for industrial action. There is an agreed system of redeployment which is not being honoured. We are fighting for jobs and quality journalism. Recent events have proved that journalism needs to be properly resourced. That is why I have called for a moratorium on these cuts. The BBC needs to take the opportunity to halt the assault on frontline journalism and put in place measures to shore up news and current affairs before it is too late."

Read Michelle Stanistreet's statement to the BBC Trust.

Tags: , BBC, broadcasting, ballot, delivering quality first, bbc world service, asian network, cuts, redundancies