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BBC Journalists Strike Again Over Job Cuts, Disrupting Radio And News

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Picket lines were mounted outside studios and offices, including the BBC TV Centre in west London. | AP

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme has been disrupted as thousands of journalists staged a strike in protest against compulsory redundancies.

The programme went on air at 7am, an hour later than usual, as members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) took industrial action across the UK.

Picket lines were mounted outside studios and offices, including the BBC TV Centre in west London, Bush House in central London and cities including Belfast, Glasgow and Manchester.

The union said early reports are that the strike is being "solidly supported" by the 3,000 NUJ members at the corporation.

BBC Radio 5 Live has also been affected, and it played pre-recorded programmes to replace its regular Up All Night show.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said journalists are angered at a "change in approach" by the BBC to job cuts, with a number of compulsory redundancies already made and more expected in the coming weeks.

The two sides will meet for talks on August 11, but the NUJ leader said: "There has been absolutely no meaningful movement from the BBC to address the cases of individual journalists losing their jobs now."

A BBC spokesman said: "Industrial action will not alter the fact that the BBC is faced with a number of potential compulsory redundancies, following significant cuts to the central government grants that support the World Service and BBC Monitoring.

"We will continue with our efforts to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies; however, the number of posts that we are having to close means that, unfortunately, it is likely to be impossible for us to avoid some compulsory redundancies."

An NUJ spokesman said: "All the journalists currently affected are willing to accept redeployment and they face an uncertain future through no fault of their own. The BBC is wasting thousands of pounds making skilled and experienced people compulsorily redundant instead of redeploying staff. This is money that should be used to make better programmes and to ensure the future of quality journalism at the corporation."