NUJ members vote to accept BBC Local offer
Members have voted overwhelmingly to accept the offer brokered between the NUJ and management on jobs, income protection, and workload, along with new concessions on recorded radio news bulletins and shared programmes.
Hundreds of NUJ members took part in the consultative ballot, with 70 per cent voting to accept the offer. The ballot closed yesterday (Monday), and the result brings an end to the long-running industrial dispute and associated strike and other industrial action. The NUJ has made it clear that the union will continue to campaign for truly local radio programming tailored to the needs of local audiences.
Paul Siegert, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said:
“This is an overwhelming result in our long-running dispute at BBC Local. We’ve gained significant safeguards on jobs and income protection for NUJ members, along with new concessions on radio news bulletins and shared programming. None of this would have been possible without the fightback and action taken by our members across England. Their courage and determination have saved jobs and programmes and achieved these new and significant arrangements.
“While this deal answers the most pressing industrial concerns of those working at BBC Local, the NUJ will continue to campaign vigorously for quality, truly local radio programming and live news bulletins which has been hit hard by this restructure. Ofcom must enforce the protection of local content, so cherished by often hard to reach and vulnerable listeners. Going forwards, BBC funding must be deployed to provide for the many varied and diverse audiences, with radio embedded in local communities.”
The deal includes:
- Employees who have taken or will take a lower paid role as a result of the local restructuring plans will retain their previous salary for a period of up to 12 months.
- No compulsory redundancies
- The BBC will review shared and pre-recorded afternoon local news bulletins. It will not introduce the shared bulletins in Tees, Newcastle, Cumbria and Lancashire.
- Local radio afternoon shows: the BBC willmaintain 13 existing Sunday afternoon programmes until end of the financial year in March 2024, and pause the proposed introduction of a single pan-England show until September 2024 to allow more time for consultation.
- Smart speaker bulletins: the 2pm weekday pre-recorded bulletins for the smart speaker service on BBC Sounds will be dropped.
- The BBC will address concerns about antisocial working hours by allowing online journalists to finish at 8pm instead of 10pm on weekends.
- Turnout: 55%
- Yes (accept): 70%
- No (reject): 30%