NUJ votes for BBC strike over ‘Delivering Quality First’ programme
BBC Easter schedules will be disrupted as the National Union of Journalists has voted for strike action over compulsory redundancies, excessive workloads and bullying and harassment.
The joint strike with Bectu is a consequence of the BBC’s 'Delivering Quality First', a cost-cutting programme which will result in a significant loss of jobs across the corporation.
Under DQF the BBC will cut its budget by 20 per cent, resulting in 2,000 job losses, many from core programming. The BBC has already lost more than 7,000 jobs since 2004 after former director general Mark Thompson agreed to freeze the BBC licence until 2017 while taking on an extra £340 million in spending commitments.
The NUJ vote for action was 61.2 per cent in favour of a strike and 79.9 per cent for action short of a strike.
The news comes following a one-day stoppage by NUJ members last month over compulsory redundancies which resulted in a range of flagship programmes, such as Radio 4’s Today and Breakfast TV, being pulled off the air.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “It is disappointing that once again the BBC has decided not to properly engage, refusing our call for a moratorium to give space for meaningful discussions on the worrying impact of the cuts. BBC executives know they've got a major problem on their hands – the recent investigation into bullying and harassment has lifted the lid on a problem that has been allowed to grow to shocking levels, under the noses of senior executives supposed to be responsible for upholding 'BBC values’.
“We hope the forthcoming Respect at Work report will be a positive step forward in tackling a problem that has become institutionalised – but it's hard to believe that there's a real commitment to change when we're seeing cases of people who have been targeted, bullied and unfairly picked off being rushed out of the door. Compulsory redundancies being pushed through at the same time as jobs are being advertised externally is not just bad management, it's a waste of licence fee money.
“The BBC is adamant that the cuts are having no impact on quality. NUJ members know this is bunkum – they are the ones dealing with the real impact of cuts that have been targeted directly at frontline programming, they can see that corners are being cut, that staff are being put under huge pressure to deliver with fewer resources, and inevitably quality journalism is compromised. Calling their package of 20 per cent cuts Delivering Quality First was always a nonsense and an insult – and it is becoming clearer every day that these cuts, which are being badly implemented from the top, are diminishing quality journalism at our public service broadcaster.”
NUJ members in Scotland will be on strike on Friday and Monday over outstanding compulsory redundancies and at New Broadcasting House, London, on Friday afternoon.