BBC news blackout as journalists strike over pensions

The BBC faces 48 hours of news blackout as its main TV and radio news program’s star presenters join a strike over pensions.

The walkout is organized by the National Union of Journalists. UK’s Guardian reports:

“Managers were scrambling today to put together sufficient resources to provide a ‘core news service’ across TV, radio and online. One insider described the situation as ‘looking stretched’.”

Guardian also reports:

“The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, made an 11th hour appeal to staff before the strike, which he said would mean “significant loss of earnings” for NUJ members “without any advantage or benefit in return”. Thompson warned the strikers that there would be little sympathy for the industrial action among viewers and listeners. He also told BBC members of other broadcasting unions that they would be expected to work. “The public – many of whom are facing difficult employment and economic pressures – will find it very hard to understand why the BBC’s service to them should be impaired in this way,” Thompson wrote in an email to BBC staff.

“Describing the corporation’s pension offer as a “fair one” that had changed “in significant and positive ways” following negotiations with staff and unions, Thompson added: “The BBC belongs to the British public and has a duty to deliver programmes and services of the highest quality to them every day of the year. They rely on us. We must not let them down.”

“Jeremy Dear, the NUJ general secretary, said he expected the strike to have a “significant impact” on the BBC’s output. He added that the union was ready for talks but said there was “no appetite” for negotiation from the BBC.”