BBC strike: Newsnight cancelled and evening news bulletins cut

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The BBC has announced more than eight hours of disruption to news programming today as a result of strikes organised by the National Union of Journalists.

BBC Two's 65-minute Newsnight slot is to be filled with Wonders of Life, while the 6pm and 10pm news bulletins will be 30 minutes (including weather and regional opt out).

The NUJ took the Today programme off the air this morning and caused major disruption to other news programmes on TV and radio in a 24-hour strike, which started at midnight.

Union members are unhappy about proposals to make compulsory redundancies as part of widespread cost cuts across the corporation.

According to the BBC, the disagreement is over 30 staff members facing compulsory redundancy, including 17 at BBC Scotland. The NUJ claims jobs are under threat of compulsory redundancy at the Asian Network, Newsbeat, Five Live, the World Service and English Regions.

Last week the union condemned the advertising of short-term contract jobs to journalists outside the BBC, arguing that existing staff should instead be redeployed.
 
As well as Radio 4's Today programme being dropped for pre-recorded material, the BBC has announced disruption to Breakfast, the World at One, PM, the World Tonight and BBC News.
 
Picket lines were mounted outside BBC studios and offices across the UK and the union said the strike was being well supported.
 
According to the NUJ picketing is also taking place at more than 20 other locations, including Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff.
 
The union says it has some 4,000 members in the BBC and that the "overwhelming majority" have joined the strike.
 
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet: “The strike is obviously solid and very well supported. Our members are taking action to support quality journalism and programming.
 
"NUJ members are furious that their management is failing to redeploy colleagues at risk of redundancy – while at the very same time 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 have been 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."
 
A BBC spokesman said:  "We are disappointed that the NUJ has gone ahead with today’s strike and apologise to our audience for the disruption to services. Unfortunately industrial action does not alter the fact that the BBC has significant savings targets and as a consequence may have to make a number of compulsory redundancies.
 
"We have made considerable progress in reducing the need for compulsory redundancies through volunteers, redeployment and cancelling vacant positions and we will continue with these efforts."

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