Conditional offer made by the BBC to end local radio strikes and industrial action

A conditional offer has been made by the BBC in a bid to end industrial action by NUJ members working at BBC local radio stations.

The NUJ is balloting members across BBC Local on acceptance or rejection of a new offer brokered through Acas.

If the offer, brokered through Acas, is accepted, the dispute and associated strikes will end.

NUJ members across BBC Local (covering radio, TV and online) have been involved in a protracted dispute challenging cuts and changes that led to over 800 journalists put at risk of redundancy and editorial changes including the axing of local programmes, sharing of content across regions and pre-recorded news bulletins in some radio stations.

Members have taken four days of strike action, along with a long-running work to rule, with two strike ballots won and significant political and campaigning activity.

Through the NUJ’s industrial campaign and negotiations, the number of weekend daytime radio programmes were increased from 12 to 18, and weekday afternoon shows from 18 to 20 – saving more jobs and giving the public less shared output.

A planned all-England Sunday afternoon show for all local radio stations has now been paused until at least September 2024 as part of the new offer. New concessions and protections (including on income and job security) are also for the first time available in the conditional offer.

NUJ members will vote in an online ballot which opens today (Thursday 2 November) and closes on Monday 13 November.

Paul Siegert, NUJ broadcasting official, said: “Members will now have their say on this offer, which addresses some of the most pressing industrial concerns – including avoiding compulsory redundancies and improving redeployment, pay protection, workload and movement on news bulletins.

“Whatever the outcome of this industrial dispute, the NUJ will continue to fight and argue that there should be 39 local radio stations, properly funded, all producing genuinely local output with their own bespoke live news bulletins. We are concerned that the cuts that have taken place at the BBC – with more on the immediate horizon – are hollowing out the BBC’s ability to fulfil its remit and duty as our public service broadcaster. This includes its obligations on hours of weekly local output, which we want to see significantly increased.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We have always been committed to engaging with the trade unions and following talks with the NUJ at Acas, have reached a conditional agreement we hope will bring the current dispute to an end.

“We are modernising local services to ensure we remain relevant to all licence fee payers however they choose to get their local information.”

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