BBC journalists ballot for industrial action over local radio cuts
NUJ members working for BBC Local are being balloted to take industrial action over the corporation’s latest proposals to share local radio programming across the network. Members in Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly for action over cuts at Radio Foyle.
Under the BBC’s original proposals, BBC local radio stations would share programmes with neighbouring stations after 2pm on weekdays and at weekends. Some news bulletins would also be pre-recorded. The plans result in a loss of posts and journalists having to re-apply for their own jobs.
A compromise put forward by the BBC which would have seen less sharing was rejected by 70 per cent of NUJ members.
The union says it now has no option but to move to a formal ballot; a previous consultative ballot two weeks ago was overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action. Any action, if voted for, would commence next month. The journalists involved work for local radio and TV and online in England.
Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said:
“There is real anger about the BBC’s plans for local radio which will result in 5.7 million people getting a much-reduced service. It will completely undermine the BBC’s public service remit and take the “local” out of local radio. We expect there to be an overwhelming vote for action. The union has made it plain that it supports the BBC’s expansion of digital, but believes it can be done without destroying local radio.”
In a separate dispute, BBC members in Northern Ireland have voted 95 per cent in favour of industrial action over the corporation’s proposal to close 36 posts across the province and end the popular BBC Radio Foyle Breakfast Show.
Find out more about the #KeepBBCLocalRadioLocal campaign.