BBC Spotlight cut down today as journalists go on strike
BBC Spotlight, the south west’s regional news programme, will put out shortened news broadcasts today as BBC journalists strike over compulsory redundancies.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have walked out for 24 hours from midnight in a dispute over jobs.
The strike has already affected national and regional programming, including BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme which was cancelled.
Jo Irving, a broadcast journalist for BBC Devon, told us that today’s 1.30pm lunchtime broadcast and 6.30pm teatime broadcast of Spotlight will both be shortened to 5 minutes.
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She was part of a picket line outside the BBC Devon building in Seymour Road, Mannamead, this morning.
She said: “On a national and network level the strike has had a big impact.
“Spotlight will only have a five minute news broadcast at lunchtime and a five minute broadcast tonight so it has been greatly affected.
“We see job updates every day on the BBC website and yet 30 people are facing compulsory redundancies including one person at BBC Devon.
“It’s sad that people have to strike to show a feeling of force but it’s a case of ‘stand together, divided we fall’ and we want to show that.
The BBC have confirmed the shortened broadcast for the 1.30pm bulletin but are still waiting to confirm how long tonight’s Spotlight bulletin will last.
In a statement the BBC said: “We are disappointed that the NUJ has gone ahead with today’s strike and apologise to our audience for the disruption to services.
“Unfortunately industrial action does not alter the fact that the BBC has significant savings targets and as a consequence may have to make a number of compulsory redundancies.
“We have made considerable progress in reducing the need for compulsory redundancies through volunteers, redeployment and canceling vacant positions and we will continue with these efforts.”
The NUJ said 7,000 jobs had been cut at the BBC since 2004, while a further 2,000 are being lost under cost-saving plans.
The union has asked the BBC for a moratorium on all job cuts for six months to allow for talks and negotiation with Tony Hall, the new Director-General.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: "NUJ members across the BBC cannot believe why their management is failing to redeploy colleagues at risk – at the very same time as advertising job vacancies. It's a monumental waste of talent and experience – and paying needless redundancies is a waste of public money.
“This action could easily be avoided. This not just about self-interest - BBC journalists care deeply about the quality of programming and the corporation's duty as a public service broadcaster.
“That is why so many are already working way beyond their contracted hours and are 'acting up' without financial reward, and why stress levels across the BBC are at an all-time high ."