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BBC South Asian services journalists to strike

20 February 2009

Journalists from the Urdu, Hindi and Nepali sections of the BBC World Service are set to strike next week in protest against job losses and plans to offshore editorial work.

NUJ members are concerned that the corporation's proposals – which are being imposed by management without union agreement – fail to take into account the implications for editorial independence.

A ballot at the affected services saw members vote by 87 per cent in favour of industrial action. A 24-hour strike has now been called for Thursday 26 February.

The BBC is planning to offshore all Hindi output, while London output of the Urdu and Nepali services would be halved. NUJ members working on the service say the plans would seriously jeopardise the BBC's status as an independent international broadcaster.

The plans could result in 34 redundancies in three departments and will affect several others in the technical team. Staff are facing the prospect of redundancy or a move to Islamabad, Delhi or Kathmandu on significantly worse terms and conditions.

Paul McLaughlin, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said:

"In light of the strong ballot result, our members will be taking strike action next Thursday. This will be the first of many actions on this issue unless the BBC comes back to the table to negotiate."

Tags: , strike, bbc world service, broadcasting, india, cuts, bbc, bbc hindi, bbc urdu, bbc nepali, outsourcing, offshoring