Strike Stupidity 

24 May 2005

When the BBC strikes were announced, BECTU said they wanted “blank screens and dead air”. And they were sure they were going to get it. And so yesterday around 10,000 staff* didn’t turn up to work to show their anger at 3,780 proposed job cuts.

And instantly proved themselves to be wrong.

For, after all, the BBC still ran a very good show yesterday. Due to the unions involved, the main people who walked out were the front line people running the show – the people who would cause most damage. The news was still there, albeit with some different faces and smaller regional bulletins. Radio was perhaps worst hit, as was BBC World, but all in all, considering the circumstances, I think it all went rather well.

The number of proposed job cuts is around a third of the number who walked out yesterday. And those cuts will be carefully thought about and made. So if the BBC can run with a third of its workforce missing, with very little time to plan – a 14% reduction with careful planning is nothing. And a lot of those jobs will still exist in the independent producers that the BBC will use to make the programmes it no longer does itself.

Ah well BECTU, NUJ and Amicus. Better luck next week.

* Source: BBC

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