NUJ reps voted to extend work-to-rule from Scotland to whole of the UK

Tim Lezard

NUJ BBC Bush House-July-2011BBC journalists are to begin a corporation-wide work to rule and strike action over compulsory redundancies.

(Pictured: NUJ members on strike, BBC World Service. July 2011)

The NUJ accuses BBC managers of “intransigence” and using “pointless bureaucracy” to prevent staff at risk of redundancy from being redeployed into other jobs.

NUJ reps voted yesterday to extend a work-to-rule which already applies in Scotland to the whole of the UK.

Under budget cuts drawn up following the 2010 renegotiation of the TV licence fee, the BBC wants to make 2,000 staff redundant across the organisation, including at Newsbeat, Five Live, staff on the Big Screens, Asian Network and the World Service..

Union reps voted to take strike action, unless the BBC management redeploys staff under an agreed scheme.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Our members are being forced to escalate action against these compulsory redundancies because of the lack of movement from management to properly use the redeployment system – this lack of engagement is particularly entrenched in BBC Scotland where nine members face losing their job at the end of March.

“NUJ members at the BBC are determined to ensure that no one else loses their job because of such pointless bureaucracy and managerial intransigence.”

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.”

Last week a former NUJ rep, Russell Maddicks, won a case against the BBC for unfair dismissal.

The tribunal found fault with key elements of the BBC’s redundancy procedures.

NUJ broadcasting organiser Sue Harris said: “It is madness when we have the BBC on the one hand advertising job vacancies, while on the other it is laying off qualified staff. It is a waste of money and talent.”

Officials say they are especially concerned about the loss of specialist reporters and correspondents in Scotland, in the run-up to next year’s independence referendum and Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said: “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.

“We expect the work to rule to have an immediate impact as staff levels are already too low.”

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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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