NUJ members walked out of BBC Oxford in Summertown at noon today (Thursday March 28th) as part of a national strike. The NUJ and sister broadcast union BECTU are on strike over the unholy mix of compulsory job losses, overwork and bullying and harassment. The extent of the latter became shockingly clear after the NUJ invited members at the BBC to give evidence in confidence in the wake of the revelations about how the corporation dealt with allegations about Jimmy Savile at the time and more recently.
Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ general secretary, said: “Members are taking strike action today in a clear message to the BBC that it needs to listen to its staff and address properly the problems created by its ill-conceived and badly implemented cuts programme.”
She called on Tony Hall, who takes up his position as BBC Director General at the start of April, to come in “with a big broom to sweep away management complacency and set new priorities.”
“We know that the cuts are already having an impact on the quality of work. We know that it is leading to unacceptable workloads and stress. We know that management is using DQF [the so-called Delivering Quality First programme of cuts] as a means to harass and bully staff – making worse an already entrenched problem of bullying that has been largely ignored by those in positions of power.
“It is clear to everyone that the BBC management is now in turmoil,” said Michelle. “The new DG needs to have a new start – to put the disastrous decisions made by Mark Thompson and the lack of leadership of George Entwistle behind him and have a major rethink of DQF.”
The midday walkout had an immediate impact on BBC programming, with BBC 24 news service forced to repeat its 11.00 o’clock bulletin at 12.00 noon.