Threat of Christmas strike at BBC averted

The threat of a strike by BBC journalists over Christmas has been averted after a dispute over compulsory redundancies at the Asian Network was resolved.

The National Union of Journalists said in November its members had voted in favour of a strike by 70 per cent and by 84 per cent for other forms of industrial action.

But the union has now announced that outstanding issues have been resolved, including journalists who have been redeployed to other posts.

A BBC spokesman said: "The dispute over compulsory redundancies in Asian Network has been resolved.

“We have met all our redeployment commitments in a timetable agreed with the unions and we are continuing with our considerable efforts to avoid compulsory redundancies in other areas of the BBC.”

Sue Harris, the union’s BBC national organiser, said: "We are pleased that we have resolved the situation at Asian Network.

“It is vital that the BBC management makes sure that its deployment system works, so we do not lose experienced journalists and presenters because local-level managers are not making it work.

“We do not want to see licence-fee payers' money being spent on redundancy pay for members when there are jobs in the corporation for them to go to.

"However, the ballot shows that there is a clear mandate for strike action among our members for strike action over compulsory redundancies.

“This is crucial for the battle ahead as the BBC management's cost-cutting scheme, Delivering Quality First, rolls out. We have a number of potential redundancies in other departments across the BBC and we will be working to resolve them – or else we will be prepared to take action.”

The union warned that the ballot result “could be used to sanction industrial action during the Christmas period elsewhere in the BBC where there is the threat of compulsory redundancies”.

Chapels at BBC Scotland are meeting on Monday to consider plans for action if management fails to redeploy those at currently at risk.

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