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Strike at the Beeb

Submitted by on February 18, 2013 – 9:01 am10 Comments


The National Union of Journalists has issued the following regarding the strike at the BBC today, which includes staff at MediaCity. FC United has a nice history with the NUJ, after club staff refused to speak to the BBC during the strike by workers at the corporation that co-incided with our famous FA Cup win over Rochdale.

BBC journalists have started their work to rule and are striking today, Monday 18 February.

The NUJ is now battling to save jobs at BBC Scotland, Newsbeat, Five Live, at the Big Screens, Asian Network and the World Service which are due to go within months.

In all, the BBC plans to cut 2,000 jobs.

The BBC has already lost more than 7,000 jobs since 2004.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “NUJ members across the BBC cannot believe why their management is failing to redeploy colleagues at risk – at the very same time as advertising job vacancies.

“It is a monumental waste of talent and experience. Paying needless redundancies is a waste of public money. This action could easily be avoided. This not just about self-interest. BBC journalists care deeply about the quality of programming and the corporation’s duty as a public service broadcaster.

“That is why so many are already working way beyond their contracted hours and are ‘acting up’ without financial reward, and why stress levels across the BBC are at an all-time high.”

Cuts under the BBC’s cost-saving programme Delivering Quality First will mean:

• Investigative journalism and coverage of political conferences will suffer. Already under the scheme 1,400 news posts have been cut.

• More major sports events will be lost to pay TV.

• Local radio cuts will damage the BBC’s reach to local communities.

• In Scotland 100 to 120 jobs could go.

• BBC Wales stands to lose more than 100 jobs in Bangor and Cardiff

What you can do:
- Visit your local picket line to show solidarity.
To find the nearest email campaigns@nuj.org.uk

- Send messages of support.
The NUJ is collecting messages for the strikers and our publicity email: campaigns@nuj.org.uk

- Tweet your messages of support hashtag – #BBCStrike

- Email the BBC Trust.
Tell the trust.enquiries@bbc.org.uk that you support the strike – the cuts are putting the quality of BBC journalism at risk.

- Ask your local MP to sign the BBC redundacies early day motion


  • TH says:

    Famous people crossing picket lines at the BBC so far today, as workers strike, include Mick ‘the champagne socialist’ Hucknall and Claudia Winkleman on Radio Two.

    I am not listening to it by the way, someone at work is unwittingly feeding me the info.

    Good article about the NUJ BBC strike in 2010, as backed by FC United staff, here:

    On that occasion, the following were among those who crossed picket lines: Jeremy Vine, Andrew Collins, Emma Crosby, Chris Moyles, Aled Jones, Chris Evans, Andrew Neil, Terry Wogan, Simon McCoy, Mike Bushell, Peter Dobbie, Jake Humphrey, Fearne Cotton, Huey Morgan, Ian Payne, Geoff Dyer, Greg James, Scott Mills, Colin Murray, Paul Ross, Gaby Roslin, Steve Lamacq, Louis Theroux, Peter Kay and Bruce Forsyth.

  • TH says:

    This just in from roving strike correspondent Dan T:

    “That’s not Charlatans main head Tim Burgess filling in for the striking Lauren Laverne on Six Music is it? Booooo………”

  • TH says:

    Update from The Guardian:

    Radio 4′s flagship Today programme and BBC1′s Breakfast were forced off the air on Monday morning as BBC journalists staged a 24-hour strike over job cuts.

    Instead of John Humphrys and Evan Davies on Radio 4, listeners heard pre-recorded shows, while BBC1 viewers were offered Bargain Hunt and Escape to the Country instead of Bill Turnbull.

    Radio 5 Live was also affected, with Up All Night and Morning Reports cancelled, while the Breakfast show went on air at 6am with stand-in presenters.

    Radio 4′s main daytime news programmers have been forced off the air by the strike, including World at One and PM.

    National Union of Journalists picket lines are planned outside BBC offices in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Birmingham.

    Strikers outside the corporation’s London headquarters, New Broadcasting House, resisted “strongarm tactics” by unnamed “senior members of staff”, according to the union. The NUJ claimed that some BBC managers suggested to freelancers that their future work would be affected as they arrived to staff the graveyard shifts.

    “NUJ members across the BBC are taking action to defend jobs and quality journalism at the corporation,” said the NUJ general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet.

    “They are angry and frustrated at the poor decisions being taken at the top of the BBC – decisions that are leading to journalists being forced out of their jobs and quality journalism and programming compromised.”

  • TH says:

    NUJ update from MediaCity:

    “Solid support in Salford. Breakfast TV off air; 5 Live, Radio Manchester are both pale shadows of their real self. Radio Manchester Managing Editor expected to be presenting a curtailed North West Today/Tonight later today as no-one else is at work.”

  • TH says:

    We are hearing Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr cancelled a pre-booked appearance on Six Music today, in support of striking workers.

    6 presenter Gideon Coe is also on strike along with the pre-mentioned Lauren Laverne.

  • TH says:

    More from another of our roving (non-scabbing) reporters:

    “Dinner time news and weather picket-line crossers include Ben Rich the weatherman, Kate Squire, a manager, reading the news on Look North West, Mel Coles doing the weather.”

  • TH says:

    More from The Guardian, which seems to be one of the few media outlets reporting the BBC strike in any depth:

    BBC 6 Music host Lauren Laverne and Newsnight’s Paul Mason were among thousands of corporation staff to go on strike on Monday, forcing several flagship news programmes off the air and playing havoc with radio and TV schedules.

    Laverne’s refusal to cross the picket line caused the BBC to reshedule an appearance from former the Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. The Charlatans frontman, Tim Burgess, stepped in to present her 10am show.

    Mason, Newsnight’s economics editor, joined about 15 BBC staff on the picket line outside the corporation’s New Broadcasting House headquarters in central London.

    The 24-hour strike over job cuts caused noticeable disruption to the BBC’s morning schedules, with presenters John Humphrys and Evan Davis replaced by pre-recorded shows on Radio 4 as Today went off the air.

    Michelle Stanistreet, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said the strike sent a “really significant” message to BBC managers about union members’ opposition to planned compulsory redundancies.

    “From members that I’ve spoken to the panic from managers in the last few days has been palpable in the newsrooms as they’ve tried to prepare for today,” Stanistreet told MediaGuardian.

    Speaking outside New Broadcasting House, Stanistreet said the huge payoffs to BBC executives in the past year had angered rank-and-file journalists who had borne the brunt of cost-saving measures. She cited the £670,000 recouped by former chief operation officer Caroline Thomson when she left the BBC shortly after losing out on the director general’s job to George Entwistle, who quit at the height of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

    “It’s absolutely hardened opinion and the frustration and anger among NUJ members at the BBC has really been building in recent months,” she said.

    “Not only has the impact of the cuts been felt now – we’re seeing the effect on quality journalist and programming – but they’re having to sit by and hear revelation after revelation at the reality of executive pay, the payoffs that have been given to people like [former chief operating officer] Caroline Thomson. All the time they’re supposed to accept that journalism at the BBC is being compromised as a result of the cuts – they’ve simply had enough.”

    The NUJ said it has 4,000 members at the BBC and that there were picket lines from Southampton to Shetland. The Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV, sent reporters to cover the strike the BBC’s New Broadcasting House.

    Tory Blair, an NUJ representative at the BBC, said she had been outside the corporation’s new London headquarters since 5.30am and that turnout had been strong. “A lot of people have stayed away. There was a big walkout last night and there was no Today programme this morning.”

    Another striker, David Gallagher, complained about the pay of BBC executives enforcing the cutbacks. “There are too many senior managers, they are too highly paid, and there are too many people who have lost a real sense of public service. I hope [new director general] Tony Hall will restore some of that when he comes in,” he said.

    Meanwhile, one of the main causes of the strike, BBC Scotland, has been warned by politicians that some of its cuts could potentially put it in breach of the BBC’s Royal Charter.

    In a letter to BBC Scotland chief Ken MacQuarrie, the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party education and culture committee has questioned plans to merge the education and local government reporter roles.

    The committee said it had concerns about the move, adding: “The committee has noted the terms of sections 4 (a) and (b) of the royal charter for the continuance of the British Broadcasting Corporation under which the public purposes of the BBC include “sustaining citizenship and civil society” and “promoting education and learning”.

    It went on: “It would be helpful if you could confirm how under a single post-holder you envisage these purposes can be maintained. As an aside, the committee notes that, in the week of the committee meeting, the local government reporter covered stories ranging from business to energy and adverse weather conditions.”

    The committee has asked MacQuarrie to respond by 22 February.

    In addition, some members of the National Union of Journalists have reacted angrily to an email sent to staff at the end of last week by acting director general Tim Davie reminding them of “BBC policies around industrial action” and saying big strides have been made, “ensuring those facing redundancy get a chance to apply first for nearly all new vacancies”.

    One NUJ member sent Davie a reply, which has been circulated internally and seen by the Guardian, which claimed: “We never get the chance to apply before anyone else; that would be a good starting point if it were possible. Instead, we have our CVs loaded in a priority pool which HR are supposed to check before advertising – but it simply doesn’t happen!

    “I have highlighted to HR a number of occasions where my CV was not pulled from the priority pool for jobs where I was at least a partial – if not a full match. I would be happy to go through this evidence with you and Lucy Adams if you want; you might then see why it is so hurtful and difficult to be in our position.”

  • dan says:

    Got Chris Hawkins scabbing for Radcliffe & Maconie on 6music at the mo. Hawkins is most famous for appearing on ITV’s Freaky Eaters for being scared of fruit and veg.

  • TH says:

    From the NUJ about those upholding the strike on Five Live:

    “Radio 5 Live – NO Nicky Campbell, NO Shelagh Fogarty, NO Victoria Derbyshire, NO Richard Bacon, NO Peter Allen”

  • TH says:

    Newsnight is the latest casualty of a very successful day for the NUJ. Well done comrades, stay solid.

    From The Guardian:
    Newsnight has become the biggest TV casualty of the strike.
    The BBC has confirmed that tonight’s edition, due to be presented by Kirsty Wark, will not go ahead.
    It will be replaced at 10.30pm by a repeat of Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life.
    That ends a day when BBC journalists have manned picket lines up and down the country, from Southampton to Shetland, in protest at compulsory job cuts.

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