THE BBC’s flagship news programmes were taken off the air nationwide and in Bristol today as journalists at the region’s biggest broadcasting centre staged a one-day strike.
Regional TV news show Points West was off the air on Friday morning and was expected to be replaced by a skeleton service on television and radio as NUJ journalists showed complete solidarity in protest at job cuts.
The NUJ has accused the BBC of wilfully avoiding talks to avoid the stoppage, which was called to oppose compulsory redundancies at the World Service.
BBC Bristol’s NUJ father of chapel Matthew Hill said: “The dispute is over fewer than 30 jobs which the BBC wants to make compulsorily redundant, yet there are hundreds of staff who are willing to take voluntary redundancy.
“Not a single NUJ member has gone to work at the BBC in Bristol today. We are not at all happy about taking this action, but we feel forced to when the BBC doesn’t appear to want to negotiate – yesterday management refused an offer to go to arbitration at ACAS.
“At the moment the dispute is about BBC staff in London, but our members in Bristol are well aware that they could soon be affected.
“With 20 per cent cuts expected across the BBC, which could mean 3,000 jobs lost, we fear that we will be next.”
Nationwide, BBC news programmes suffered wide disruption today, throwing schedules into disarray. Initially the BBC claimed there would be little disruption, but was soon forced to tweet repeated revisions of its schedule as the absence of journalists took its toll.
Radio 4’s flagship Today programme was severely affected while BBC1’s Breakfast was off air, replaced by a BBC News channel simulcast, and the regular 5 Live Breakfast hosts Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden were replaced by Ian Payne and Julia Bradbury.
News on the strike from the national NUJ website