NUJ and Bectu to hold BBC-wide strike on Maundy Thursday

The National Union of Journalists has announced strike action at the BBC next week threatening a string of high-profile news and current affairs shows.

In a joint action with Bectu, staff will walk out of BBC studios at midday on Thursday 28 March, hitting the corporation’s Easter schedule.

The NUJ is complaining about compulsory redundancies, excessive workloads and even bullying and harassment at the corporation.

The 12-hour strike has been prompted by the Delivering Quality First project that will lead to 2,000 job losses. The corporation has called upon both unions to cancel the proposed action as it says cost savings are unavoidable.

NUJ general secretary Michelle 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.”

The NUJ claims that the Corporation is refusing to engage with staff or discuss the impacts of cuts.

Worse still, the Union said: “The recent investigation into bullying and harassment has lifted the lid on a problem that has been allowed to grow to shocking levels under the noses of senior executives supposed to be responsible for upholding BBC values.”

BBC Scotland will be hit by a strike tomorrow and Monday over the continued threat of compulsory redundancies.

UPDATE: The BBC Scotland industrial action has been called off.

The NUJ held an earlier walk-out on 18 February which affected shows such as BBC Breakfast and Radio 4’s Today.

A BBC spokesperson claimed they had held “constructive meetings” with unions in recent weeks but said redundancies were necessary because of tighter budgets.

A spokesperson said: “We must progress with those given the significant savings we have to make and strike action will simply not change this.

“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 turn out and relatively small numbers voting for a strike that the unions will reconsider taking industrial action.”

The NUJ said they had 61.2 percent support for a strike with a further 79.9 percent favouring action short of a work-stoppage.

The NUJ has handed over a dossier of evidence collated by Dinah Rose QC consisting of confidential reports of bullying and harassment suffered by current and former staff.

NUJ National Broadcast Organiser Sue Harris called on the corporation to implement a six-month moratorium on all redundancies to allow further talks.

According to the NUJ, the BBC has already lost more than 7,000 jobs over the last decade.

The Corporation admitted that 1,935 people took part in last month’s strike forcing it to cancel and replace almost 18 hours of television and radio broadcasts – including the cancellation of Today on Radio 4. 

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