BBC faces second day of strikes

By Alex Stevenson

BBC journalists are walking out today as a row over compulsory redundancies deepens.

Staff are striking at BBC TV Centre in London and at many of the Corporation's regional offices.

It follows a similar walkout, which appears to have had a greater effect, on July 15th when figures including political editor Nick Robinson and business editor Robert Peston refused to cross picket lines.

"By taking strike action members intend to show they are prepared to stand up for colleagues under threat and the union is calling on the corporation to step back from the brink and avoid further industrial action in response to compulsory redundancies at the BBC," National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said.

The BBC has said it needed to make 387 job cuts following spending reductions to the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring. Nearly 100 compulsory redundancies are being pushed through as a result.

"We have been working with all these affected staff to ensure that they have opportunities for redeployment and retraining but we cannot and will not give preferential treatment to individuals depending on their union status," BBC business operations director Lucy Adams said.

The NUJ claimed the BBC had "refused to take the necessary step to avoid compulsory redundancies", however.

"The BBC's current actions spell disaster for quality journalism, the corporation is wasting thousands of pounds making hard working, skilled and experienced journalists redundant," Ms Stanistreet added.

"Instead they should be adopting alternative solutions and redeploy those who are threatened. No one should be forced out of work when there are jobs available for journalists to do."

The BBC said it was "disappointed" that the strike was going ahead and apologised to its audience.

"We will continue with our efforts to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies, however, the number of posts that we are having to close means that unfortunately it is likely to be impossible for us to avoid some compulsory redundancies," a spokesperson said.