BBC Journalists go on strike

BBC South Asia goes on strike in London
by Saqlain Imam, London, imam6@hotmail.com
BBC World Service’s South Asian journalists are starting a 24 hour strike action as part of their ongoing campaign ‘Save the BBC World Service’ on Thursday, 26th of February. The BBC World Service management is attempting to force a restructuring plan, endangering 34 jobs in Hindi, Urdu and Nepali sections, without an agreement with the trade unions. The BBC WS journalists have been protesting for the last 15 months against ‘reckless off-shoring’ under the banner of National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Broadcast Entrainment Cinema Theatre Union (BECTU).

BBC management is imposing its plan to off-shore 100 per cent of Hindi output, while Urdu and Nepali output from London would be halved. The trade unions feel that implementation of management’s plan would seriously jeopardise BBC’s status as an ‘Independent International Broadcaster. ‘ The trade unions strongly feel that BBC WS will become very vulnerable if the editorial control shifts somewhere else, more so in the case of Pakistan and Nepal where level of editorial independence is questionable.

Recently, BBC’s South Asian staff overwhelmingly endorsed the strike ballot. The strike will take place from Wednesday midnight to Thursday midnight, affecting Hindi, Urdu and Nepali broadcast and online operations. BBC World Service Newsroom journalists affiliated with the unions are going to support their striking colleagues by not crossing the picket line.

The BBC World Service has created private limited subsidiary companies in India and Pakistan to run its broadcast and online operations from there. The management is asking its staff to accept inferior terms and remuneration from these newly created companies or become redundant. The trade unions are demanding equal pay and same human resource policy in overseas offices as in London.
Source of the news: Posted by: Saqlain Imam imam6@hotmail.com at SPN yahoogroups, Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:55 am (PST)

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