NUJ warns of wildcat strikes if BBC forces through job cuts

The last time BBC staff walked out was when Greg Dyke was dismissed

BBC journalists have said they will strike if job cuts are imposed in the wake of the corporation’s cost review.

A meeting of NUJ reps from 40 BBC offices on Tuesday voted unanimously to demand urgent talks with BBC managers over the rumours of large-scale redundancies that have been circulating for weeks.

Delegates at the meeting, angry at claims that anything from 3,000 to 9,000 jobs could go, spoke of staff walking out in wildcat strike action.

It was suggested the walk-outs could mirror the spontaneous demonstrations by BBC staff that greeted the sacking of director general Greg Dyke.

The delegates declared: “The NUJ will resist any cuts in local, regional or national news and current affairs and any plans for redundancies by all means at the union’s disposal, including a ballot for strike action.”

It was claimed that cuts were already being made in editorial spending and that, although the Corporation had made no announcements, local managers were telling staff that economies were on the way.

The cuts were said to involve non-replacement of staff and reducing the use of international news agencies. BBC news journalists already fear that a number of smaller international bureaux could be closed and the lunchtime bulletin might be brought under the umbrella of the News 24 production team( Press Gazette , 1 October).

One NUJ representative at the meeting said: “There is an absolute determination to resist any attempt to cut jobs or programming. There will be action if these leaks of job cuts turn out to be true.”

Concern about jobs has been sparked off by four major reviews instituted by the new BBC director general, Mark Thompson.

The BBC has declined to comment on the speculation about job cuts and said the recommendations of the value-for-money reviews will not be known until the end of this month and early December.

By Jon Slattery

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