BBC Parliament journalists are set to take 24-hours of strike in protest at unequal pay grading from 6am tomorrow.
The majority of staff who produce content for the 24-hour TV channel, which includes live coverage of Prime Minister’s Questions and parliamentary committee hearings, hold the title of Broadcast Assistants and sit in pay grade five.
However, comparable work by colleagues at the BBC News Channel and BBC World is done by Broadcast Journalists who sit two tiers above at pay grade seven, according to the NUJ whch says it has received a mandate for industrial action after all members concerned voted in favour of a strike.
According to the BBC less than 20 staff are involved in the strike action.
The union claims viewing figures for the dedicated politics channel have doubled in recent years as a result of the “hard work” of its members.
Aiden James, father of chapel at BBC Westminster, part of the BBC News division, said: “This is not about pay, it’s about fairness and being valued for what we do.
“We want [the channel] to improve further and grow to serve its audience. Managers can be helped to achieve this by investing in their staff, rather than exploiting the commitment of grade five Broadcast Assistants.
“The NUJ wants the journalism of members at BBC Parliament to be recognised and valued by management. The NUJ wants to see staff at BBC Parliament treated equally to their grade seven colleagues.”
While the live broadcast of the House of Commons including Prime Minister’s Questions and the Business Committee session with Sir Philip Green will be handled by the channel controller and two deputies, the union has claimed coverage of the Westminster Hall debates, business in the Lords, committee hearings, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly will be “severely affected”.
However a BBC spokeswoman said there were “plans in place to maintain the schedules programming” adding: “We expect to offer a normal service including broadcasting PMQs on BBC Parliament as well as BBC News Channel and BBC Two as usual.”
The BBC also said its coverage of the Scottish Parliament, National Assemblies and business in the Lords would not be affected.
- The NUJ achieved statutory trade union recognition at the South Wales Argus in Newport this week. Contact was first made with employer Newsquest in November 2014 before it was proven the union had the majority necessary to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of editorial staff(Picture: Shutterstock)