BBC Arabic journalists vote to strike

Staffers say service is being underfunded

LONDON — Journos at the BBC’s Arabic TV news channel have voted to strike amid accusations that the service is being underfunded.

Members of the National Union of Journalists who work for BBC Arabic, which launched March 11, voted 80.6% in favor of the action. Decision will also affect workers at the BBC World Service’s radio and online outlets.

Staff have given BBC chiefs until Sept. 12 to respond.

BBC execs have, however, denied the accusations that BBC Arabic is understaffed and overworked.

“At £40 million ($70.7 million) per annum no one can seriously suggest that BBC Arabic is underfunded, especially when it has access to the BBC newsgathering and production infrastructure and can draw on the very considerable news resources elsewhere in the organization,” said World Service director Nigel Chapman in a message to BBC staff.

“We acknowledge that there is some frustration in the service because many existing staff have been through a great deal of change in the last two years.”