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Latest BBC Local journalists 48-hour strike begins

BBC Merseyside journalists man the picket lines. Marc Geier/Twitter

Journalists working across BBC Local began their latest 48-hour strike action at midnight, and will strike until 11:59pm on June 8.

Around 1,000 journalists will participate in industrial action over the BBC’s plans to dramatically reduce local radio services across England.

The strikes on Wednesday and Thursday follow industrial action by journalists in March and stalled negotiations with the BBC, whose proposals, the NUJ said, have failed to address concerns about the impact of fewer services, and an increase in shared programmes.

Paul Siegert, national broadcasting organiser, NUJ, said: “48 hours of weekly local radio programming is a disservice to the 5.7m weekly listeners who tune into BBC local radio. Journalists are striking in defence of services that are valued by communities across the country. We do not oppose change within the BBC but believe the manner in which the Digital First strategy is being enforced will destroy access to relevant, local radio that so many rely on. This 48-hour strike is about journalists standing up for local radio services, and the public have rallied behind members in their fight to keep local radio local.”

Last week, BBC journalists passed a vote of no confidence in the BBC Local senior leadership team. 93 per cent of those surveyed indicated they no longer had trust in the team amid the ongoing dispute.

The NUJ is holding a lobby of parliament on June 7, with MPs also meeting journalists from across English regions in the House of Commons.

The BBC said in a statement: “We understand this is a difficult period of change for many colleagues and we will continue to support everyone affected by the plans to strengthen our local online services across news and audio.

“Our goal is to deliver a local service across TV, radio and online that offers more value to more people in more local communities. While the plans do impact on individual roles, we are maintaining our overall investment in local services and expect our overall level of editorial staffing across England to remain unchanged.”

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