Viewers and listeners in England can expect further changes to BBC local radio and regional TV news services in the coming weeks, with staff set to resume industrial action to save BBC local radio services.
The BBC wants to cut local radio stations so they only broadcast as little as 48 hours of local content each week.
Industrial action, which started in March, was put on hold while the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) consulted its members on revised proposals from BBC management.
BBC bosses had offered stress risk assessments and three additional pairs of weekend breakfast shows, reducing the areas covered by the planned new weekend shows. The BBC also made offers regarding redeploying those who would lose their roles. 56% of members rejected the offer.
A number of presenters have confirmed on social media in the past fortnight whether or not they will lose their job as the BBC ploughs on with the plans.
However, the NUJ reports widespread support for journalists taking a stand to defend local radio services. Last week, Oxfordshire County councillors urged the BBC to value local radio, and keep BBC Radio Oxford local in a new video.
A work to rule will resume at midnight (10th May). Like the last work to rule, this may result in familiar faces and voices disappearing from the airwaves and last minute changes to the availability of regional news bulletins on BBC One.
Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said
“Members have made it clear that without a fair proposal that keeps BBC Local Radio local and stops the output being drastically cut, strike action will continue. We urge management to listen to what their own staff are saying, along with politicians from all parties and 5.7 million listeners.
It is vital the BBC return to negotiations with a proposal that keeps its millions of listeners at its core, recognising the huge role journalists play in delivering these much-loved programmes.”
The BBC wants to reinvest money into local online services. But critics argue the BBC has a public duty to provide a service to local radio’s mostly older audience via traditional means. Newspaper publishers fear the BBC online plans will muscle into their domain.