Striking BBC Arabic journalists produce news bulletin
3 August 2011
Journalists on strike at the BBC's Arabic Service have produced their own news bulletin 'Strike This Evening' to cover their story. The strikers explain to viewers the background to their action against unfair working conditions.
Management plans to introduce a new rota system that would add 26 days to the working year.
The unprecedented six-day strike at the service is due to end tomorrow night, 4 August. The impact of the strike has been clear on the content of the BBC Arabic Service, which is dominated by documentaries. Main presenters in television and radio were replaced by freelances and unqualified journalists, while some flagship programs were taken off air or replaced.
A senior BBC Arabic manager has decided to leave the newsroom and join his NUJ colleagues on the picket line in a move welcomed by the journalists.
The journalists will decide on further action after the strike ends. They are angry that management has ignored their demands for fair treatment, particularly when the NUJ identified about £2.2 million in wasted spending.
The strikers have expressed their regret to the Arab audience for the failure of the service to cover developments in the Arab world during the stoppage, including the trial of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Support for the strike and the First day of Ramadan were marked by the journalists and their families by gathering together to have Ramadan Iftar in front of Broadcasting House in London. Muslim and non-Muslim journalists participated in this social gathering and sent a strong message of solidarity to the Arabic service management.
The strikers will end their stoppage by holding a second social gathering and having dinner together on the picket line at 8.00pm tomorrow.