TODAY.AZ / Business

BBC staff to strike over job cuts

10 February 2007 [16:41] - TODAY.AZ
BBC staff are to stage a 24 hour strike in a row over job cuts, unions Bectu and the NUJ have announced.

Thousands of staff could walk out on 26 February and unions have warned it may disrupt TV news programmes.

Bectu official Luke Crawley said the row centred on fewer than 10 compulsory redundancies among journalists and broadcasting staff.

He said it was "madness" considering the BBC had already cut almost 4,000 jobs through voluntary measures.

Mr Crawley said: "Bectu members are intent on taking strike action to protect their colleagues."

The BBC said in a statement that it regretted the strike announcement but had an obligation to licence fee payers to implement efficiency savings.

It vowed to put contingency plans in place to minimise any possible disruption to viewers.

"The BBC remains committed to trying to achieve these savings without the need for compulsory redundancies and we are still in discussions with Bectu and the NUJ about how this might be achieved," the statement read.

"The decision to take industrial action is particularly disappointing given that the BBC has been working extremely hard together to achieve as much as possible through voluntary means," it added.

The corporation said most of the value-for-money post closures achieved so far - over 1,500 - had not been through compulsory redundancy.

The NUJ said its members would strike over a refusal by BBC managers to reconsider plans for up to six compulsory redundancies.

NUJ broadcasting officer Paul McLaughlin said: "We are calling on the BBC to see sense even at this late stage because we have offered sensible solutions to all of the outstanding cases.

"Management intransigence seems to be cause of this dispute," he added.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "BBC managers have absolutely nobody to blame but themselves for this strike - they have dug their heels in over an issue that could easily be resolved.

"Hundreds of BBC staff have volunteered for redundancy and dozens of vacancies are currently being advertised, but BBC managers have refused to redeploy threatened staff and instead are seeking to force staff out the door."

In a separate dispute, up to 95 Bectu members will strike for three days from 27 February in a disagreement over working practices in news production. BBC

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