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BBC staff to stage 12-hour strike
BBC journalists and technical staff are to stage a strike in a dispute over job cuts, workload and claims of harassment which could disrupt Easter Bank Holiday schedules.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and technical union Bectu will walk out for 12 hours at noon next Thursday, March 28.
The move follows votes in favour of stoppages and other forms of action in a long-running row over a cost-cutting programme which will lead to the loss of 2,000 jobs. The NUJ vote was 61% in favour of stoppages and almost 80% for action short of a strike, while backing among Bectu members was 56% and 81%.
The two unions have warned that jobs and working conditions are being affected by the so-called Delivering Quality First (DQF) programme. Gerry Morrissey, leader of Bectu, said: "BBC staff have rejected management's attempts to create a modern-day BBC sweatshop.
"Current demands on staff are unacceptable and with more job cuts planned it is essential that the BBC takes stock of the impact of DQF on its workforce. The BBC needs to address the issues of workload and harassment, and the way to do that is not by making people redundant."
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ, has accused the BBC of refusing to accept a suggested six-month moratorium on cuts to allow talks to go ahead.
NUJ members staged a one-day strike last month over compulsory redundancies which hit a number of flagship radio and TV programmes. Union members in Scotland will be on strike on Friday and Monday over the compulsory redundancy row. The unions maintained that the cuts were having an impact on the quality of BBC output and were placing "huge pressure" on staff.
Ms Stanistreet said: "Members are taking strike action next week in a clear message to the BBC that it needs to listen to its staff and properly address the problems created by their ill-conceived and badly-implemented cuts programme."
Helen Ryan, Bectu's supervisory official, said: "BBC members across the country have voted for a campaign of industrial action in protest at the current management regime, which is asking staff to compromise their well-being on several levels. Contrary to earlier statements, management is forcing the burden of DQF on to staff and some staff are now close to breaking point."
A BBC spokesman said: "We continue to work extremely hard to redeploy staff and have already succeeded in redeploying nearly double the number of people that have been made redundant. We hope with such a low turnout and relatively small numbers voting for a strike that the unions will reconsider taking industrial action."