Further strike dates announced in dispute over BBC local radio

  • 06 Jul 2023

BBC journalists in England will be taking strike action from 11am on July 20 to 11am on July 21, which will hit coverage of the results of a number of Parliamentary by-elections.

The NUJ is in dispute with the BBC over plans to cut local radio output by almost half making many popular presenters redundant, cancelling shows and forcing local stations to share content across larger regional areas. The action follows a 48-hour strike last month and a 24-hour stoppage in March. The strike will involve journalists working in local radio, regional TV and online.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The union continues to talk to BBC management and we have made it consistently clear that there are alternative ways for the BBC to achieve its ambitions on Digital First – ones that do not come at the cost of local radio; that preserve jobs and livelihoods; do not worsen current working patterns for staff across BBC Local; and protect genuinely local services. There are 5.4m loyal local BBC listeners who treasure the service local radio provides and tune into linear radio.”

On Thursday 22 June there was a backbench debate on the proposed plans for  BBC Local Radio. MPs from all parties queued up to support their local radio station and call on the BBC to change its plans and for Ofcom to ‘do its job’ and enforce the BBC’s remit to licence fee payers. They backed the NUJ’s call for the BBC to pause its plans, engage with and listen to licence fee payers, and refine its approach in order to protect local services. Many MPs have written to Tim Davie, the BBC’s director general, asking him to change the plans.

The NUJ is also urging its members and fans of local radio to download a charity record, Need My Local Radio. The proceeds will go to the National Federation for the Blind whose petition handed in to 10 Downing Street attracted the signatures of more than 230 local organisations and more than 40 cross-party politicians.

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