BBC journalists vote to renew their industrial action mandate over cuts to local radio
The union now has a mandate for strike action, but will continue talks with management.
Under the UK’s onerous and restrictive legislation governing industrial action, the NUJ was required to have another ballot to keep the action alive – members at BBC Local in England, in local radio, regional TV and online, have taken strike action on three occasions and are continuing to operate a work to rule.
On a turnout of 64 per cent, 70 per cent said they were prepared to take part in strike action and 83 per cent said they were prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike. This positive result was despite many members being away over August and means the work to rule will seamlessly roll on until a resolution is reached.
The BBC’s plans will cut local content by almost half. As the BBC has continued to drive forward changes, many popular presenters have lost their jobs or have left and scores more staff are facing the threat of redundancy in the coming weeks – something the NUJ argues is unnecessary and counter-productive.
The union has been supported by MPs and councillors of all parties, charities, sporting teams and community groups who say the BBC’s local radio service is vital for democracy, binding communities together and providing vital relevant and genuinely local news.
The union says the result of the ballot will be used to shore up negotiations with the BBC.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
“The BBC needs to sit up and take notice of the strong feeling of BBC staff, along with politicians and community groups across the country. If they thought this dispute was waning, they are sadly mistaken. This is a strong result in an important dispute in support of jobs, but also importantly in support of the BBC’s role in providing a service to all local communities. We now have a further mandate for strike action. But of course, we would prefer to reach a negotiated settlement with the BBC and resolve to continue the present talks with management.”
The new action will include a boycott of ‘My Conversations’, which is a key part of the BBC’s HR framework. The work to rule has already repeatedly pulled many programmes off air.