Socialist Worker

BBC strikes have power to turn over bosses

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2263

BBC journalists walked out on Monday this week to protest against management forcing through compulsory redundancies.

This is their second one-day strike—part of a campaign by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The strike had a huge effect on BBC news coverage. Morning radio, breakfast TV and regional shows were all thrown into chaos.

Radio 4’s Today programme was again shortened due to lack of journalists and across the country news programmes were replaced with music and randomly selected documentaries.

Picket lines sprang up across the country, and members of other trade unions came to show solidarity.

Outside Bush House in London, members of the civil service PCS union brought their banner to the picket line. They were joined by a rep from the lecturers’ UCU union.

Ali, who works for the BBC’s Persian service, told Socialist Worker, “I’m here to support my fellow workers. People I work with are being forced out of their jobs.”

Another striker said, “Management need to negotiate with the union but it looks like they have no interest in doing so.”

Deal

Management claim that these cuts are necessary because the Tory government has cut the budget for the BBC.

But bosses did a deal with the government. In return for the Tories maintaining the cost of the TV licence fee, the BBC would make swingeing cuts to reduce the size of the corporation.

Now over 100 workers, across every part of the BBC, face compulsory redundancy—and many more have already been pressurised into taking voluntary redundancy.

The strikers’ NUJ union now faces a challenge.

Its leadership has not called any further action, yet management continues to be belligerent.

However, the week-long strike at the BBC Arabic service (see below) and the all-out strike by journalists in South Yorkshire (see right) point to a way forward.

There are some 3,000 NUJ members at the BBC. And the one-day strikes have shown they have power.

Walking out for a week could bring the bosses to heel.


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