1000 journalists ready to start Local BBC Radio strike at 11am

NUJ members working across England for Local BBC Radio will begin a 24-hour strike from 11am hitting coverage of the Budget.

Journalists in radio, tv, and online will commence action as part of an ongoing dispute over the BBC’s plans to cut local radio.

Proposals by the broadcaster will cull services and mean only 40 hours of guaranteed weekly programming.

NUJ members will head to pickets on Wednesday and Thursday, following the union’s clear mandate from 83 per cent of balloted members, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

The union has been engaged in discussions with the BBC, urging a rethink on the damaging impact cuts will have on local radio.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Staff are striking this week as a last resort – they are under no illusion that the BBC’s plans will undermine already hollowed out local radio content across England.

“It’s not simply a question about jobs and conditions for our members – they believe passionately in the value that quality local content brings to their audiences, journalism that is trusted and relied upon in the communities they serve.

“The BBC’s raiding of local radio budgets to fund its Digital First strategy is wrongheaded and risks undermining a vital part of our public service broadcasting. People want local relevant news that is accessible, and that should remain a core part of the breadth of BBC output.”

Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting officer, added: “Plans by the BBC to cut local radio services will have a lasting impact on journalists and listeners who rely on services each week for the breadth of programmes produced.

“This is the biggest shake-up for several decades and runs contrary to the BBC’s own claims of valuing local services. Members on strike this week want the BBC to present a solution that can resolve this dispute and prevent widespread cuts.”

Over 1,000 journalists are expected to take part in the strike action throughout England, with a continuous work to rule kicking off on their return from 11am Thursday 16 March.