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BBC wide action could be taken by NUJ journalists due to BBC Scotland redundancies


By Stephen Lepitak, -

February 5, 2013 | 3 min read

Journalists from across the BBC have agreed to work to rule and strike action as a result of the compulsory redundancies being made at BBC Scotland.

A work to rule agreement by Scottish members will take place from midnight on Friday in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which will include those working at the Scottish Parliament, Selkirk and the Borders, the NUJ has said.

The decision has been taken as a result of nine compulsory redundancies set to be made at BBC Scotland, with the NUJ only willing to withdraw the action if the jobs are redeployed.

The job cuts are the latest to be made under the Delivering Quality First scheme, implemented following the long-term freeze to the licence fee under austerity measures.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said that members were being forced into taking action due to "the lack of movement from management to properly use the redeployment system".

"Just last week a former NUJ rep Russell Maddicks won his case against the BBC for unfair dismissal – the industrial tribunal found fault with key elements of the BBC's processes and procedures. Russell lost his job despite there being suitable available redeployment opportunities – NUJ members at the BBC are determined to ensure that no one else loses their job because of such pointless bureaucracy and managerial intransigence," added Stanistreet.

"If the BBC wants to resolve this dispute, they need to engage meaningfully with the NUJ and find opportunities for these talented experienced journalists at risk – rather than waste public money on needless compulsory redundancies."

Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, added: "A major concern among members in Scotland is the loss of specialist reporters and correspondents. This will result in a serious dumbing down of output. In the lead up to the independence referendum we need experts in education, business and politics -- three areas where cuts are being made. Scotland needs skilled, experienced reporters asking searching questions on the economic, cultural and political implications of independence or retaining the status quo.

"It will also have a knock-on effect on the quality coverage of the Commonwealth Games, which while not as grand in scale as the Olympics, nevertheless should be offering a wonderful chance for BBC Scotland to showcase the range of skills and creativity which exists among broadcasting staff north of the border. "We expect the work to rule to have an immediate impact as staff levels are already too low."

The BBC Scotland NUJ chapel initially voted for action to be taken at the end of last month.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “We’re continuing to work closely with our staff and the unions to seek redeployment wherever possible and those talks are on-going.”


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