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Gloucestershire Business News

BBC Radio Gloucestershire hit by 24-hour strike

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's services are being hit today as journalists stage a 24-hour strike.

The walkout by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) started at 11am this morning in a dispute over BBC plans to "modernise" local services by boosting online content.

Under the BBC's proposals, the 39 stations in England will keep their own weekday morning programmes but then share 20 afternoon weekday shows, 10 shows after 6pm and a single all-England programme after 10pm. Weekend output will also be affected.

Speaking on his BBC Radio Gloucestershire Breakfast Show this morning, presenter Mark Cummings told listeners he wouldn't be with them tomorrow morning.

He read the following statement from the BBC which said: "We are sorry that audiences will experience some changes to local TV and radio services in England as a result of the industrial action from the National Union of Journalists but we have tried to minimise disruption as much as possible.

"We are obviously disappointed that the strike has gone ahead. We have a plan to modernise local services across England including with more news journalists and a stronger local online service which will see no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding.

"Our goal is a local service across TV, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities. We will continue to engage with trade unions to do everything possible to minimise the impact on staff."

However, Mr Cummings read out some angry and supportive reactions to the BBC proposals from listeners.

One listener, Sally, said: "I wholeheartedly support the decision for action. I'm totally disgusted with the BBC who think they can make sweeping decisions on behalf of their listeners. Local radio is exactly what it says - local, not Bristol, not Wiltshire. I'm fuming because for many people local radio is the reassurance of knowing who they are listening to. The familiar voice is the only human contact they have in their lives. Have the BBC thought about the impact? I doubt it. Do what you need to do and we will stand by you."

Another listener, Andy, said: "I'm appalled by the decisions of the Beeb. Best wishes to all your colleagues standing up no doubt at considerable cost to you and your families. Do what you think is right."

And Simon in Winchcombe said: "They recently had the opportunity to save an awful lot of money by getting rid of certain staffing contractors but they bottled it."

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