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BBC journalists to vote on industrial action

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BBC staff who are members of the National Union of Journalists are to vote on the latest BBC cuts.

Since first announced, the BBC has made a number of concessions, which includes increasing the number of afternoon and weekend programmes across its local radio stations and future plans for dedicated programmes for Black and Asian audiences.

It has also said that community programmes will move to Monday and Friday evenings, while the number of stations featuring them will increase from 20 to 33.

It would also be revising the proposed pairings of stations.

“We have listened carefully to the feedback we have received about proposed changes to BBC Local Radio programming. As a result, we are making a number of amendments to the original plan in order to strike the best possible balance between live and on-demand services,” stated Jason Horton, Director of Production, BBC Local.

The NUJ said its members would now be considering if these changes will be enough.

They had previously indicated that they were prepared to take action and will now vote whether to accept or reject concessions made by the BBC. A “no” vote would lead to a further ballot on industrial action.

“This is far from an ideal proposition. The NUJ believes that local radio is one of the jewels in the BBC’s crown and that all 39 stations should continue in their current form and be properly funded,” said Paul Siegert,  NUJ national broadcasting organiser.

“They are listened to by 5.7 million people a week because of their localness. When you start sharing with other stations then local radio stops being local. It’s now important we listen to our membership who work on those 39 local radio stations. If they reject the current proposals because they feel licence payers will get an inferior service, then the next step will be to ballot for industrial action unless the BBC sees sense.”

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