BBC staff to push strike
LONDON – BBC reporters are planning further strikes after a two-day walkout over pension changes successfully disrupted the broadcaster’s TV and radio programmes, a labour union said yesterday.
Jeremy Dear, chief of the National Union of Journalists, said a 48-hour strike that began Friday had forced some news programmes off the air and prompted radio stations to air repeats instead of some live broadcasts.
The union said it plans another two-day strike beginning November 15 and threatened further labour action over the Christmas holidays.
The BBC’s flagship Today radio programme was cancelled Friday but broadcast as usual on Saturday.
Services are “not totally back to normal, but not far off”, the BBC said. “It may not be quite as polished as it usually is, but for most viewers it will be the same service they are used to.”
BBC employees were protesting planned pension changes that have been rejected by the union, which has about 4 100 members at the BBC.
“News programmes have virtually been written off in Scotland and we expect huge disruption across the BBC again today,” Dear said.
He claimed many staff had lost faith in senior management.
“They have got so many things wrong, from executive pay to the freezing of the license fee as well as the cuts to journalists’ pensions,” he said.
BBC director-general Mark Thompson insists the new pension plans are fair and have already been modified after talks with staff. He said only one in six employees had joined the strike.
The BBC has already announced plans to ax radio stations, cut its Web pages by half and sell off magazines under cuts to its 3.5 billion pound annual budget. (AP)