BBC staff to hold ballot over local radio cutbacks
By David Wood | 1st February 2023
BBC journalists are to vote on industrial action in a dispute over planned changes to local radio programming.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said its members working for BBC England are being balloted regarding proposals to share local radio across the network.
In November, Punchline reported that BBC bosses were looking to reduce the amount of uniquely local broadcasting on BBC Radio Gloucestershire from 100 hours a week to 46.
Local programmes would run from 6am to 2pm Monday to Friday but it would switch to regional content thereafter, with no Gloucestershire-based broadcasting at weekends, apart from sport.
The NUJ said that this would lead to a loss of posts and journalists having to reapply for their own jobs.
A consultation ballot led to the proposals being rejected by 70 per cent of NUJ members.
The union said that it now had no option but to move to a formal ballot, which will open on February 6, reported The Times.
The journalists involved work for local radio and TV, and online, in England.
Strikes, if voted for, would begin in the week starting March 13.
The Times quoted Paul Siegert, the NUJ national broadcasting organiser, as saying: "There is real anger about the BBC's plans for local radio, which will result in 5.7 million people getting a much reduced service.
"It will completely undermine the BBC's public service remit and take the 'local' out of local radio."
Mr Siegert added that he expected there to be an overwhelming vote for action.
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