the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

2 March 2011

As union officials continue in talks at the BBC World Service to challenge the funding cuts proposed by the Foreign Office, the external campaign to expose the lasting damage which the cuts will do to the UK's standing and to communities abroad gathers pace.

Supporters of the World Service are encouraged to support the petition which calls upon the government to revisit plans which in the short term put 651 jobs at risk.

Likewise, constituents across the country are being urged to seek their MPs support for Early Day Motion 1356. Massive support will put still more pressure on ministers to consider the disproportionate effect of the planned budget cuts.

Don't know how to contact your MP? It's simple, go to  www.theyworkforyou.com and type in your postcode to find out how.  

Act now

Please act now as the cuts to radio services have already started.

At the end of February the BBC Portuguese service to Africa, the Spanish Latin American service (BBC Mundo), and the services for Serbia and Albania shut up shop.  BBC Mundo retains an online presence and will produce a weekly podcast. Largescale cuts to the World Service were announced in January.

The Macedonian service is scheduled for imminent closure, on 4 March 2011, followed by English for the Caribbean on 25 March.

As BECTU's assistant general secretary Luke Crawley explained:

"These cuts are an attack on services which are highly valued by those who listen and they help make the BBC one of the world’s leading broadcasters with a global audience of 2.5 billion on radio, television and online."

BECTU and NUJ members at Bush House, working for the BBC World Service, and also at Caversham working for BBC Monitoring are under threat.

BBC Monitoring is directly funded by the Cabinet Office and provides services to the intelligence authorities, many of which inform issues of national security. Cuts of £3m are being sought during 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU's general secretary. will give evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday 9 March; he will argue that the planned cuts to the World Service are proportionately much greater than the savings demanded from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a whole.

Join the lobby of Parliament and public meeting on Tuesday 15 March

Union members, campaigners and supporters of the World Service from across the political spectrum will amplify calls for a  government rethink at a public meeting in Committee Room 14 at the House of Commons on Tuesday 15 March from 18.30 hours. Luke Crawley will speak on behalf of BECTU.

This will be immediately preceded by a lobby of Parliament from 16.30; supporters of the lobby will also have the opportunity to debate the issues in Committee Room 7 (also at the House of Commons) from 16.30. Union members are being urged to join others in lobbying their MPs to come out in clear opposition to the cuts.

Supporters of the World Service outside the UK are also be encouraged to show their support.  Setting out some comprehensive advice to BECTU members at home and abroad today, national official Dan Cooke said:

"Please publicise the campaign amongst colleagues, family and friends and contact your nearest British Embassy and inform them of your support for the campaign. Please also copy any correspondence to info@bectu.org.uk .You can find your nearest Embassy via the Foreign Office website: www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/find-an-embassy/ ."

Campaign supporters are also invited to join the Facebook group SOS BBC World Service. 

Amended 3 March 2011, 09.25, to update information on BBC Mundo, the Macedonian service and English for the Caribbean.

Adverts