BBC Radio Cumbria staff in walkout against compulsory redundancies plan (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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BBC Radio Cumbria staff in walkout against compulsory redundancies plan
BBC Radio Cumbria staff are striking today in support of nationwide industrial action against proposed compulsory redundancies.
Union members gathered on the picketline outside Radio Cumbria headquarters in Annetwell Street, Carlisle, this morning.
A spokeswoman said around 20 members of the BBC Cumbria branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), are taking part in the 24-hour walkout which began at midnight this morning.
They are supporting other chapels against proposed job losses planned for BBC Scotland, BBC World Service, Radio Five Live and the Asian Network, which are being fought by NUJ chapels at BBC stations around the country.
The Cumbria branch believes they can be avoided through the redeployment of staff from other parts of the corporation.
Julie Clayton, of the BBC Cumbria NUJ chapel, said the county station had lost around six or seven members of staff itself over the past six to eight months.
She said: "We know many organisations have gone through a period of cuts and BBC Radio Cumbria isn't any different. But we think it shouldn't be affecting the people on the ground doing their job. If you continue to lose experience, it will affect the quality of programming."
Most of Radio Cumbria's news and programming team were said to be supporting the action and that there had been less local news broadcast in its bulletins as a consequence.
However, some show presenters have not joined the action because they are not trained journalists or NUJ members, she explained.
"The last thing we want to do is have an impact on services for the licence-paying public but we want to ensure we maintain the quality of service," added Ms Clayton.
In a statement from its Manchester press office, 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 cancelling vacant positions and we will continue with these efforts."