August 12, 2011
“Misguided, misdirected and mistaken” – a former BBC Radio 4 Announcer and News Editor has hit out at NUJ strikes which have crippled some parts of the Corporation’s output in recent weeks.
Paul Leighton, Broadcasting Division chairman of the Chartered Institute of Journalists said “The NUJ has completely lost the plot in its otherwise laudable campaign against compulsory redundancies at the BBC. It needs to stop fighting lost battles when it could be doing so much better looking after the real needs of journalists in trouble. Their current action simply antagonises listeners and viewers.
Leighton said “In common with the NUJ, we are utterly opposed to the corporation’s determination to axe so many jobs in radio – particularly at the World Service. We have told the chairman of the BBC Trust, the Culture Secretary and the chairman of the Commons Media Select Committee, that it is a massive mistake. But, we are also realists, and from bitter experience know that strikes have rarely altered the Corporation’s views once it is dead-set on a policy.”
Leighton said opponents of the BBC’s plans should be seeking to improve staff’s pension prospects and working conditions and ensuring that employees forced to go would get decent financial packages on leaving.
He added: “Those of us who worked for the corporation for a long time know it’s hard to knock it off-course however good your counter argument might be. That is not a counsel of despair, it is simply an appreciation of the realities. ‘Gesture trade-unionism’ simply does not work.”
The Institute said it would continue to fight redundancies throughout the BBC, and hoped that recent strike action would not undermine listeners’ and viewers’ loyalty to the corporation.
Notes to editors:
Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.
Contact: Paul Leighton FCIJ