BBC Arabic Service staff to strike from Saturday

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Jul 2011

Journalists at the Arabic Service in London vote in favour of industrial action to protest against the affect of proposed budget cuts on their work and health

bbc arabic

Journalists at the BBC’s Arabic Service are to strike this week in a dispute over working conditions. 

The action begins from midnight on Friday night (29 July), and continues until midnight on Thursday 4 August.

Management plans to introduce a new rota system which would add 26 days to the working year.

A majority of the 162 National Union for Journalists (NUJ) members among the Arabic Service staff voted in favour of the six-day strike. 

NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The current proposals for the Arabic Service will result in increasing the number of anti-social and unsafe shift times. This will drastically disrupt people's lives and will lead to dramatically increased levels of work-related stress and sickness.

“Journalists at the Arabic Service are particularly concerned at the vagueness of duties and how management plans will leave staff vulnerable to exploitation and favouritism," says Stanistreet.

The BBC received a £2.2 million grant from the Foreign Office last month to save its Hindi, Arabic and Somali networks from enforced budget cuts. “Management has chosen the least imaginative way to save money at the Arabic Service and should reconsider their proposals," Stanistreet adds.

This is the second time that the workers in the BBC go on strike for these reasons. Last January, BBC Arabic journalists went on strike leading to all live news programmes to be taken off the air with repeats and prerecorded shows replacing them.

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