National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members in BBC Local have voted to accept the latest offer brokered between the NUJ and management on jobs, income protection, and workload, along with new concessions on recorded radio news bulletins and shared programmes.
Hundreds of NUJ members took part in the ballot, which closed yesterday. 70 per cent voted to accept the offer on a 55 per cent turnout. The result brings an end to the long-running industrial dispute and associated strikes and other industrial action.
Paul Siegert, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said: “This is an overwhelming result in our long-running dispute at BBC Local. We’ve gained significant safeguards on jobs and income protection for NUJ members, along with new concessions on radio news bulletins and shared programming. None of this would have been possible without the fightback and action taken by our members across England. Their courage and determination have saved jobs and programmes and achieved these new and significant arrangements.
“While this deal answers the most pressing industrial concerns of those working at BBC Local, the NUJ will continue to campaign vigorously for quality, truly local radio programming and live news bulletins which has been hit hard by this restructure. Ofcom must enforce the protection of local content, so cherished by often hard to reach and vulnerable listeners. Going forwards, BBC funding must be deployed to provide for the many varied and diverse audiences, with radio embedded in local communities.”
Around 1,000 BBC journalists walked out on strike in March, on the day of the Spring Budget, over plans to cut dedicated local radio programming across England, with a further 48-hour strike following in June and on the day of local elections in July.
The corporation’s plans included increased syndication of regional/national shows on the BBC’s local radio stations as well as the loss of 139 jobs in local radio, although the broadcaster pointed out it would simultaneously create about 131 jobs as part of more investment in online local news instead.
A BBC spokesman told Prolific North: “We are pleased to have reached a resolution with the NUJ at Acas. Any period of change and industrial action is difficult for everyone involved. We look forward to working with our teams to modernise our local services, ensuring that we remain relevant to all licence fee payers however they choose to get their local information.”