BBC staff vote to strike over job losses

BBC A series of wide-ranging cuts to BBC News were recently announced

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BBC staff have voted to go on strike in a row over job losses, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said.

The union said that 86.9% of its members came out in favour of a campaign of industrial action.

But some 73% voted in favour of all-out strike action, with the remainder opting to stop short of a walk-out.

The NUJ have now requested an urgent meeting with BBC director general Tony Hall. In July, it was announced that 415 jobs were to be axed in BBC News.

The cuts came as part of the £800m efficiency savings required after the licence fee was frozen in 2010 and are expected to save £48m by 2017.

However around 195 new posts will be created in a bid to restructure the news division for the digital age.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ secretary general, said that morale among staff was at a "record low", and that NUJ members see it as "a battle for the heart and soul of the BBC."

Lord Hall Lord Hall is expected to meet the unions to discuss the situation

"It will be impossible for journalists to produce quality journalism of the kind they strive to unless output is similarly hacked, without serious damage being done to our members' health and wellbeing," said Stanistreet.

"This dispute can be sorted out easily if the BBC wants to, which is why we are seeking the intervention of the director general.

"If we cannot reach a sensible settlement NUJ members stand prepared to take strike action in the coming weeks and months in order to bring their campaign to the attention of the broader public," she added.

Broadcasting union Bectu also voted on industrial action, with 68% in favour of strike action and 84% in support of action short of strike.

It said it is "almost certain" strikes in BBC News will be called later this month.

A BBC spokesperson said: "BBC News has recently announced a savings programme of nearly £50 million to address pressures from the licence fee settlement.

"The process of implementation, as relates to both restructuring and redundancies, has only just begun."

The statement continued: "We are aiming to work with colleagues across the BBC and with their union representatives in carrying through this challenging programme. We are disappointed that the unions have chosen to ballot for industrial action when the consultation process has barely started."

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