BBC strike called off

Unions suspend protest that threatened network

LONDON — Unions have called off the one-day strike that threatened to disrupt BBC news broadcasts.

Staffers were due to strike on Monday over compulsory job cuts, but talks appear to have resolved the dispute.

The National Union of Journalists said in a statement: “As a result of discussions this week, the number of potential redundancies has been reduced, and the BBC has agreed to a further period of time in the expectation that negotiations will be concluded successfully with no compulsory redundancies of members.”

A BBC spokesman said the pubcaster was pleased it had averted the strike, adding: “The BBC is still committed to trying to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.

“The BBC is only part way through its change program and recognizes there will be further challenges ahead, but we will continue to work with the unions to try to mitigate the impact on our staff.”

A separate dispute between technicians union Bectu and the pubcaster has been referred to arbitration. As a result, its strike action, also due next week, has been abandoned.

The BBC has shed more than 4,000 jobs in recent years as part of a drive for increased efficiency as the pubcaster prepares for the digital era.

Further cuts are in the cards following the British government’s refusal to grant an inflation-busting increase to the BBC license fee levied on all TV-watching homes in Blighty.

The efficiency program led to a strike in May 2005 that disrupted news shows across BBC TV and radio.

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