BBC's flagship news programmes hit as journalists strike over compulsory redundancies

 

Media Editor

BBC staff staged a one-day strike across Britain today in protest at plans for compulsory redundancies at the troubled broadcaster.

The industrial action comes weeks before the new BBC Director General Tony Hall is due to start work, following his appointment in the wake of the Jimmy Savile and Lord McAlpine scandals.

The BBC Breakfast programme, one of the flagship shows made from the organisation’s new facilities at Salford, was this morning hosted by a single presenter in London and supplemented by pre-recorded shows such as Escape to the Country.

Instead of hearing the familiar tones of John Humphrys grilling a politician, confused regular listeners to the Radio 4 Today programme heard an array of recorded programmes, including Paul Gambaccini discussing the dramatization of the life of Mozart. Later editions of Radio 4 news programmes The World At One, The World Tonight and PM will be replaced by repeats of documentaries and Loose Ends.

Staff in BBC offices and studios throughout Britain supported the action, which is in response to a programme of 2,000 job losses under the BBC’s Delivering Quality First plan. The immediate trigger for the dispute is 30 compulsory redundancies which are being challenged by trade unions. They include posts on 5 Live, the Asian Network, the World Service and at BBC Scotland.

Picket lines were reported this morning in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Nottingham, Derby, Brighton, Southampton, Reading, Coventry, Birmingham, Belfast, Cumbria and Suffolk.

Trade unions claim BBC managers are spending money on making staff redundant while making external appointments for other jobs. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “Instead of making sure that the redeployment process works properly in all areas of the BBC, managers are prepared to waste public money on needless redundancies and sacrifice the livelihoods of experienced and talented journalists, at the same time as advertising other jobs externally.”

The strike, due to end at 11.59pm this evening, is part of what is likely to be a difficult week for BBC management, which is also bracing itself for publication of the evidence of the Pollard Review into the organisation’s handling of its investigation into Savile. The evidence is understood to include candid comments from high-profile figures such as Jeremy Paxman, criticising the behaviour of BBC senior executives.

The BBC said today that the strike action would not change the fact that cuts would have to be made, following a de facto cut in the organisation’s budgets following the freezing of the licence fee.

“We are disappointed that the NUJ has gone ahead with today’s strike and apologise to our audience for the disruption to services,” it said in a statement.

“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 cancelling vacant positions and we will continue with these efforts.”

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Financial Controller

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is a busy and varied role w...

Senior Business Development Manager

£60-70k fixed, double OTE uncapped: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Senior Bus...

Ad Operations Executive

30,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: My client is a global name within the ente...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style