BBC Strike: Journalists Walk Off Job In Protest

Journalists with the BBC began a 24-hour strike on Monday to protest job cuts.

Throughout Britain, journalists walked off the job and held picket line demonstrations on BBC studio properties. Many of the broadcasting corporation’s scheduled programming had to be temporarily replaced in lieu of the strike.

The Associated Press writes that the strike was organized by the National Union of Journalists. The potential loss of 2,000 jobs due to budget cuts by the BBC spurred the action. The union has been unsuccessful at reaching an agreement with corporate management.

While a large portion of jobs are expected to be cut through attrition, 30 of those are targeted for compulsory layoffs. The National Union of Journalists allege that the BBC’s actions are compromising quality journalism, while the broadcaster claims its hands are tied if it expects to achieve financial targets.

Funding for the BBC comes primarily from a mandatory annual fee required of all households containing color televisions. A 2010 government freeze on such fees has reportedly forced the BBC to make financial changes.

On Monday, the National Union of Journalists released the following statement on its official website regarding the BBC strike:

“NUJ members across the BBC cannot believe why their management is failing to redeploy colleagues at risk – at the very same time as advertising job vacancies. It is a monumental waste of talent and experience. Paying needless redundancies is a waste of public money. This action could easily be avoided.

“This not just about self-interest. BBC journalists care deeply about the quality of programming and the corporation’s duty as a public service broadcaster. That is why so many are already working way beyond their contracted hours and are ‘acting up’ without financial reward, and why stress levels across the BBC are at an all-time high.”

According to a report by BBC News, compulsory redundancies are also posing risk to employees of 5live, the Asian Network, and the World Service. A BBC spokesperson voiced the company’s “disappointment” at the union’s decision to strike.

A statement by the BBC spokesperson said the following:

“Unfortunately industrial action does not alter the fact that the BBC has significant savings targets and as a consequence may have to make a number of compulsory redundancies. We have made considerable progress in reducing the need for compulsory redundancies through volunteers, redeployment and cancelling vacant positions and we will continue with these efforts.”

Do you think the BBC strike will lead to resolved differences between journalists and the broadcasting corporation?