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BBC staff begin 12 hour strike over working conditions

BBC staff UK-wide strike from midday to midnight on Thursday 28 March.

28 March 2013

A UK-wide strike at the BBC got underway at 12 noon today, 28 March.

Members of BECTU and the NUJ will continue the strike action until midnight tonight. A continuous work to rule will follow today's action.

Strike has impact reports the Daily Telegraph

Job losses mean burdens on existing staff are intolerable

The industrial action is in protest at close to 1350 job losses since the launch of Delivering Quality First - a policy unveiled in October 2011 through which managers pledged to preserve the best of the BBC whilst at the same time cutting 2000 jobs.

Union members outside BBC NewcastleUnion members at BBC Newcastle, pictured, are joining other members on strike across the UK. 

BECTU and the NUJ have clear evidence that the job cuts are leading to a serious decline in working standards with a sharp increase in reports from staff of stress, bullying and harassment.

The unions concerns for staff welfare are matched by concerns for the impact of the current working environment on programme quality.

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, said:

"All BBC staff should be assured of respect at work. Amongst other factors, this means that managers must properly assess the impact of workloads on staff welfare and ensure that staff do not suffer harm. 

"The reality today is that working conditions are declining; reports of stress, bullying and harassment are on the rise and current workloads are not sustainable."

Union members outside BBC AberdeenNUJ members outside BBC Aberdeen on 28 March. 

Both BECTU and the NUJ has appealed to the BBC to suspend the job cuts for a six month period so that a proper assessment of staffing working conditions and workloads can be undertaken. The BBC has said it will conduct a review but has refused to suspend the programme of job cuts. 

Video here of union members outside Broadcasting House, London

Messages of support

BECTU members have received several messages of support from friends at home and abroad, all of whom recognise the importance of quality broadcasting by the BBC to domestic and global audiences.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS said:

"I offer full support and solidarity for your action tomorrow [Thursday 28 March] on behalf of PCS members, the vast majority of whom were on strike last week over cuts to their living standards, jobs and working conditions and are involved in further walkouts and protests in the coming months.

"The BBC is one of our country's finest institutions, which touches all our lives every day of the week. Instead of cutting jobs and resources to the bone, politicians and senior managers should be investing in the corporation and its hard-working staff - your members - to improve programmes and the quality of broadcasting. - In solidarity, Mark Serwotka."

Members at BBC Birmingham support the strikeUnion members at BBC Birmingham support the strike. 

Christopher Warren of Australia's Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance extended the union's "full support in solidarity with our colleagues at the BBC." He also said:

"Our colleagues at the BBC are taking this action not in a fight for better pay or conditions but because they know public broadcasting is something to be cherished in a healthy democracy. They are taking this action on behalf of all of us because they believe in everything the BBC stands for. The BBC is the vanguard of presenting high quality journalism and programming for audiences around the world and it sets an example for countless others to emulate ......

"As the media industry is thrown into turmoil by the digital revolulation it ismore vital now than ever before that the BBC is properly resourced and effectively managed." 

William Maunier, president of EURO-MEI, the European division of  Uni the global union said:

“Unions and workers in broadcasting across Europe express their support for colleagues at the BBC."

“The financial sustainability and hence the quality of public service broadcasting is under constant threat in many European countries. We are very much worried about the developments at the BBC. The first to pay the price are workers, but society as a whole risks to lose a pillar of democracy if the structural cuts threaten the broadcasters ability to fulfill their public service mission." 

Union members in Southampton support the strikeUnion members at BBC Southampton support the action. 

Cornelia HaB, general secretary of German union, Ver.di, said:

"Be sure: Not only in Great Britain but on the whole continent journalists know that hte BBC has been a European-wide and worldwide reference for public broadcasting. Now the ones working there face [an] ill-conceived and badly implemented cuts programme."

Arne Konig, president of the European Federation of Journalists added:

"This is a key battle not only for the BBC but for all what public broadcasting represents for journalists in Europe."


Thanks to all the members who sent in pictures from their bases. 

Query about this article? Contact us. Page updated throughout 28 March 2013.