Hundreds of BBC journalists have voted to end a long-running union dispute over cuts to local radio content.
Some 70% of BBC Local NUJ members in radio, TV and online who voted chose to accept a new offer from the BBC. Turnout was 55%.
The union said the deal, which was brokered by ACAS, covered “jobs, income protection, and workload, along with new concessions on recorded radio news bulletins and shared programmes”.
The NUJ BBC Nations and Regions group said the deal included the avoidance of compulsory redundancies, the pausing of shared local news bulletins for four stations, and one-year income protection for those affected by restructuring.
Around 1,000 BBC journalists walked out on strike on 15 March, the day of the Spring Budget, over plans to cut dedicated local radio programming across England. A further 48-hour strike took place on 7-8 June.
The journalists objected to plans by the BBC, first announced in October last year, to cut about 139 jobs in local radio with many more programmes to be shared between England’s 39 local stations. The proposal was to create about 131 jobs as part of more investment in online local news instead.
Paul Siegert, the NUJ’s broadcasting organiser, said the ballot result had secured “significant safeguards on jobs and income protection for NUJ members, along with new concessions on radio news bulletins and shared programming.
“None of this would have been possible without the fightback and action taken by our members across England. Their courage and determination have saved jobs and programmes and achieved these new and significant arrangements.”
Siegert said the BBC’s deal answered “the most pressing industrial concerns of those working at BBC Local” but said the NUJ pledged to “continue to campaign vigorously for quality, truly local radio programming and live news bulletins which has been hit hard by this restructure”.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We are pleased to have reached a resolution with the NUJ at ACAS. Any period of change and industrial action is difficult for everyone involved.
“We look forward to working with our teams to modernise our local services, ensuring that we remain relevant to all licence fee payers however they choose to get their local information.”
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