Thousands of BBC staff have walked out of newsrooms and studios across the UK in 12-hour stoppage over job cuts and bullying

Tim Lezard

BBC strikers 28 03 13Thousands of BBC staff have walked out of newsrooms and studios across the UK in a 12-hour stoppage over job cuts and bullying.

(Pictured: BECTU and NUJ members began walkout at 12 noon, Glasgow)

Flagship TV and radio news programmes have been taken off the air, with tonight’s edition of Newsnight being cancelled, the BBC News Channel running recorded programmes within minutes of the strike starting.

Around the country, other programmes have been hit. As strikers rallied outside the BBC’s Glasgow studios, Radio Scotland was taken off the air altogether and services switched to Radio 5 Live.

The action, by members of the NUJ and Bectu, is in protest at the threat of up to 2,000 redundancies as part of the so-called delivering quality first (DQF) programme which will see 20% cuts in the broadcaster’s budget.

Both unions have called on the incoming Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, who takes up his post next week, to place a 6-month moratorium on further job cuts until staff, managers and unions can agree on how further budget cuts could be made without increasing the workload on staff who remain.

Unions estimate that more than 7,000 jobs have been cut at the BBC since 2004.

Speaking on the Glasgow picket line, where officials estimated up to 200 staff walked out, BECTU’s Scottish Organiser Paul McManus told UnionNews: “Now the dispute is about those members of staff that are left after the redundancies and the complaints of bullying and stress that we are receiving on a daily basis from members across the unions.

“Too much work is being expected of those people. The workload has increased on the people that are left.

“If they [BBC management] sit down with us, spend the six months and agree how the workload can be properly reduced, the output can be properly reduced, then there won’t be so many complaints of stress and bullying.”

The 12-hour stoppage follows an earlier strike last month by NUJ members, which saw news programmes including Today and Newsnight being cancelled.

In a statement of support, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Time and time again the public have shown that they value the vast range of services provided by the BBC.

“They regard the licence fee as excellent value for money.

“These cuts are being imposed by a weak management that is not prepared to stand up to an ideologically driven government.”

You can watch our film report on the dispute here:

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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