NUJ calls off threatened strike action at BBC after securing recruitment freeze

Journalists at the BBC have decided not to go on strike after management agreed to a freeze on compulsory redundancies and recruitment.

Members of the National Union of Journalists voted in favour of strike action in protest at plans to cut 415 jobs from BBC News, but no strike date had been set.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “We’re pleased that common sense has prevailed and that a sensible solution has been negotiated following talks with Tony Hall.

"NUJ members are deeply concerned that the proposed job cuts will have a devastating impact on their ability to produce quality content. That NUJ members were prepared to take strike action is a measure of that concern, and a reflection of how low morale at the corporation has fallen.

"That the management within News now have to come up with their plan as to how posts can be lost without burdening already over-stretched journalists is a sensible step forward. A moratorium on compulsory redundancies and a proper process to deal with assessments of workloads is good news for NUJ members, and good news for the viewing public."

According to the NUJ the following agreement was reached following the talks with director general Tony Hall and BBC head of HR Valerie Hughes-D'Aeth:

  • A recruitment freeze across News – to last as a minimum to the end of March, with a review in six months, with exceptional cases able to be hired only on the basis of agreement with the joint unions
  • A moratorium on compulsory redundancies across News, to run as a minimum to the end of March, subject to a six-month review
  • No voluntary redundancies to leave before the end of December 2014 – any exceptional cases to be agreed with the joint unions
  • Agreed that News management must devise and present their strategy as to how they believe work can be done – and standards maintained – if their proposed redundancies take place
  • Workload concerns to be addressed in this context – with an accompanying Work Pressure Review which will be done jointly with the unions.

The NUJ has also agreed to halt its current work to rule policy at the BBC.  

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