Socialist Worker

BBC unions unite against programme of job cuts

Issue No. 1948

BBC unions are balloting their members to strike against director general Mark Thompson’s plans to slash 3,800 jobs.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bectu and Amicus all began balloting their members this week after BBC management pulled out of talks on the job cuts.

Peter Murray, from the NUJ national executive and the deputy father of the chapel at BBC Scotland, told Socialist Worker, “We need to get a big turnout in the strike ballot. We want a really big vote in favour of action. A big majority would force management into serious negotiation to take back the job losses.

“These cuts will damage the BBC. Independent, private companies want a bigger slice of the action.

“Mark Thompson wants to destroy the BBC. The unions have to fight for every job and the overall view of what the BBC is about.

“Licence fee payers will be appalled at what these cuts will mean.

“Many people have joined the unions over the last few weeks. People are scared but want to fight.

“We are getting enormous support, but we can’t take the strike vote for granted.

“We need to get into every BBC office, no matter how small, to get the vote out. That’s the way that Mark Thompson will get a big fright.”

Tim Malone, a Bectu rep at News Interactive, said, “Management are trying to create a climate of fear. The axe has been hanging over people for three years now. Management want to make the BBC ripe to sell off. We have to resist these cuts. We can be effective by standing together.”

A BBC News 24 worker said, “We are withdrawing goodwill in our department and working to our contracts because of the vicious cuts.

“We are losing nine journalist posts. Management have been running down the department in staff terms for months. It has made it really difficult to work there. We want to spread our action during the ballot. Union activists need to do everything possible to get a big yes vote.”

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Sat 23 Apr 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1948
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