Scottish First Minister backs six-month moratorium against redundancies at BBC
Following strike action taken by NUJ members at the BBC earlier this week over compulstory redundancies being made at BBC Scotland, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has backed the implementation of a six month moratorium on redundancies at the organisation.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, Salmond described the proposal of a moratorium as ‘positive’ and added his ‘dismay’ at the nine jobs being cut at BBC Scotland out of 30 across the BBC.
"I will give a small example. I am not saying that this will be the most dramatic loss to the Scottish population, but I understand that Sunday Politics Scotland will not be broadcast next Sunday, because the Westminster Parliament is in recess. I accept that that might not be devastating news for the vast majority of the Scottish population, but it should raise an issue for reflection,” he added.
"Surely our public service broadcaster should have the capability to cover politics and current affairs in Scotland and surely it should not be not broadcasting a programme because the Westminster Parliament is in recess. That points to a lack of ability in BBC Scotland to produce a programme with its current resources, which will surely be made much more significantly challenging if the cuts go ahead."
Salmond referenced the impact that such job cuts could have on discussing the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence that is set to take place next year.
Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, said: "This is one of the most important decisions to be made in this country for centuries and demands the fullest public scrutiny and impartial analysis.
"It needs skilled, experienced reporters asking searching questions on the economic, cultural and political implications of independence or about retaining the status quo. So what does the BBC do? It gets rid of specialist reporters and correspondents.
"This will result in a serious dumbing down of output. In the lead up to the referendum we need experts in education, business and politics – three areas where cuts are being made. We need skilled, experienced reporters asking searching questions on the economic, cultural and political implications of independence or retaining the status quo."
Earlier this week, The Drum revealed that BBC Scotland was to run two three hour journalism courses for non journalism factual staff in March, however it has denied that the courses have anything to do with the strike action.