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"Get a grip" and end the culture of bullying in the BBC NUJ London tells management

14 November 2012

The NUJ London branch of the BBC has passed a motion that has told its management to "get to grip with the culture of bullying, victimisation and harassment of staff that has been allowed to develop inside the corporation."

The motion supported the call by Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, to call a moratorium on journalism job cuts at the BBC. She said the current management crisis should be a wake-up call to the BBC. "It 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."

The motion also warned management that the NUJ will go ahead with a ballot of members to take industrial action unless the compulsory redundancies in Scotland and the BBC's Asian Network are avoided.

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.

The motion reads:

The NUJ London Branch of the BBC calls on the management to get a grip on the damage that cuts in programme budgets and 8 consecutive years of job losses is having on BBC journalism. We demand a significant shift in BBC management culture and a renewed commitment to the BBC's values and moral purpose.
Measures coming into effect on January 1st cutting terms and conditions must now be suspended and compulsory redundancies in Scotland and the BBC's Asian Network avoided. Otherwise the NUJ will go ahead with a ballot of its members to take industrial action.
The BBC must suspend DQF and BBC World Service cuts while it makes an impact assessment of the cuts on the quality of output.
We note that the BBC is speaking up for senior management after the bad journalism of Newsnight's McAlpine report, while refusing to speak up for the vast majority of journalists on the programme who had no involvement with the story, and were not consulted about it before broadcast.
The NUJ resolves to stand by members on Newsnight as they go on doing their jobs and to support the BBC management as it gets to grips with delivering the Corporation's world class journalism. We demand that BBC management lift the ban on Newsnight investigations and give the programme the additional resources to carry them out properly.
We believe those who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of Jimmy Savile and others while inside the BBC must not be lost from the news. BBC management must also get to grip with the culture of bullying, victimisation and harassment of staff that has been allowed to develop inside the Corporation. As a first step, we call on the BBC to re-assess the numerous cases of alleged bullying reported to the NUJ, but yet to be dealt with by management, and for justice to be ensured.

David Campanale, branch chair, said:

"While former director general George Entwistle doubles his redundancy pay-off, the BBC is halving the terms journalists joining the BBC could receive.  The branch has called on Lord Patten chairman of the BBC Trust suspend DQF cuts while it makes an impact assessment of the cuts on the quality of output."

Tags: broadcasting, BBC, bullying, cuts, ballot