Despite a large number of staff holidays during the month of August, numbers at the picket line outside the BBC Leeds office remained high today. Staff were taking a second days strike action against job cuts and complusory redundancies which are seen by many as the thin end of the wedge in cuts at the BBC after a freeze in the BBC license that will be taking place for the next 6 years.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Again, the strike severely disrupted programming with the flagship Today Show going out an hour late, whilst locally Look North was reduced to a five minute broadcast again, there were no morning news bulletins and the local BBC radio stations have had to pool the work of scabs at each office to put out almost identical schedule of shows for the day across the region instead of a distinct schedule at each station.
At lunchtime, an impromtu rally was held to boost morale with a guitar brought to the picket line and various well-known songs were sung, including “Part of the Union”. Afterwards, BBC Radio Leeds NUJ Father of the Chapel, Trevor Gibbons gave a short speech outlining several shocking statistics about the BBC, including that Mark Byford, ex-Deputy Director General got £900,000 payout when he left the BBC, more than many of the strikers would earn in a lifetime. He also explained that although the expenses of the BBC Trust (the body that governs the BBC) are down by 34% in the last year, one of the members still managed to rack up over £11,000 in expenses in half a year!
A work to rule begins tomorrow, and further industrial action looks likely over the next few months.