NUJ to ballot BBC members over strike action in response to job cuts

BBC journalists are being balloted over strike action in protest at  compulsory job cuts.

The National Union of Journalists said it was “forced to take action because the BBC management has failed to honour a redeployment system”, with jobs under threat at Asian Network, BBC Scotland, BBC News and the World Service

NUJ national broadcasting officer Sue Harris said: “NUJ members at the BBC are facing an unprecedented threat to their jobs as a result of the BBC management’s licence fee deal of autumn of 2010 and the resulting DQF initiative.  

“BBC management chose not to fight this settlement, which froze the licence fee and burdened the BBC with an extra £340million spending commitments. As a direct result the BBC Asian Network is suffering the biggest cut of any single part of the BBC. Its budget has been cut virtually by half resulting in around half of its staff being without a job after 31st December 2012.

“The NUJ never agreed to these cuts. Since these cuts were announced at the beginning of this year, the NUJ has worked tirelessly to redeploy its affected members to other parts of the corporation.

“We will continue at local and national level to do everything we can to resolve the outstanding cases but we believe that ultimately if we cannot do this, NUJ members will need to stand up for the principle of no compulsory redundancies at the BBC.”

The union said that journalists at Asian Network “will find themselves out of a job by the end of the year despite there being vacancies they could be offered.”, and that it will also have to leave its Leicester base to studios in London.

In a statement it added: “BBC NUJ members will also be asked to take industrial action to fight compulsory redundancies in Scotland, the World Service, News and Monitoring planned for next spring.

“Journalists at BBC Scotland say that following cuts made last year the newsroom rotas are causing stress among staff with programmes being broadcast often with a skeleton staff.”

A BBC spokesman said: "We are extremely disappointed that the NUJ have chosen to ballot their members about industrial action.

"We have implemented all the redeployment commitments we agreed with the joint unions in a timetable agreed with them.

"We are making considerable efforts to avoid compulsory redundancies; however, the BBC has to make significant cuts and we have always been clear that it will not always be possible to avoid them completely."

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