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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
Journalists at BBC Scotland have voted in favour of taking industrial action after the corporation refused to drop plans for compulsory redundancies.
 
The announcement by the NUJ follows a unanimous vote in favour of a work to rule following a ballot in December last year.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: "The BBC should withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies in Scotland and take steps to redeploy staff at risk.

"Journalists will stand in solidarity with colleagues who risk losing their jobs and members have a clear mandate to take action to stop compulsory redundancies.

"It is not right to start the year with the threat of job cuts, compulsory redundancies are avoidable and the NUJ urges management to get round the table to resolve the dispute by providing sufficient redeployment opportunities to the staff affected."

It is understood that management at the BBC have been already been given seven days notice that strike action will be taken at offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament and the Borders.

The vote follows anger at plans to shed up to 120 jobs in Scotland over the next five years, the cuts include up to 35 journalists from the BBC Scotland news department.

The BBC raises £325million of its £3,500million revenue from Scottish licence fee payers, but spends only £176million in Scotland with around £150million going south to pay for network programming – the Scottish budget is to be reduced by £16million.

The threat of industrial action, reported by Newsnet Scotland in October, came after the NUJ raised formal objections with the BBC over the corporation’s redundancy plans for its Scottish based staff.  The union claimed that staff had been intimidated and targeted after not enough opted to accept the BBC’s voluntary redundancy package.

There have been claims that morale at BBC Scotland is at an all time low, with many staff looking for opportunities to leave the broadcaster.

However appearing in front of a Holyrood Committee earlier this week to discuss the effects of the job cuts, defiant BBC bosses challenged many of the claims levelled against the corporation’s Scottish branch.

Responding to claims by NUJ official Pete Murray, who had highlighted job cuts of sixty per cent at Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, BBC Scotland Head of News and Current Affairs, John Boothman said:

“The picture presented by the unions at the last meeting, for me, was not a true picture of what’s happening,

“I prefer to look through the other end of the telescope.”

He added: “We are very, very satisfied with the staffing we have got around Good Morning Scotland - it’s our flagship news programme.”

Mr Boothman admitted that there were plans to reduce staff on the Newsnight Scotland programme, but refused to provide details.

On the subject of the quality of referendum coverage, Mr Boothman said: “BBC Scotland will go anywhere, any time to any place in order to ensure that this referendum is covered properly.”

His comment came despite BBC Scotland’s decision not to send anyone to cover the recent Yes Glasgow launch, which saw over 600 people in attendance.

Mr Boothman’s boss, Ken MacQuarrie also challenged claims of plummeting morale, insisting that the atmosphere at the last meeting between the unions and BBC Scotland management had been “positive”.

A spokeswoman for BBC Scotland said: "We're continuing to work closely with our staff and the unions to seek re-deployment wherever possible and those talks are ongoing."

The strike action over job cuts follows news of a planned rally in Glasgow on 23rd Fenruary that will call for an open and balanced referendum debate from broadcasters, with more input from women and equal representation for both sides in all debates and discussions.

Newsnet Scotland understands that the rally will also demand an end to job cuts at BBC Scotland and an improvement in the quality of news and current affairs programming currently being produced.

Comments  

 
# Alphenscot 2013-01-26 14:43
Is the tide turning?
For the sake of Scotland I hope so!
 
 
# govanite 2013-01-26 14:57
It does still amaze me that the penny hasn't dropped. Maybe it is, slowly. Currently our press & media are London controlled & influenced. See how our newspaper industry has been threatened & subsumed.
In an Independent Scotland we will need & indeed have a free, prosperous press. There will be more jobs than there are now. Independence is the only way - and a big story in itself for those who want to cover it.
 
 
# Ayes On The Prize 2013-01-26 15:23
How about the next Yes Scotland event in Glasgow is launched right outside BBC Scotland on Pacific Quay ?

It would be a great way to highlight our concerns about this appallingly biased state broadcaster, AND even the BBC would have no excuse for not covering the event !
 
 
# Robabody 2013-01-26 15:40
BBC Scotland Head of News and Current Affairs, John Boothman said:

“I prefer to look through the other end of the telescope.”

Mmmmmm, we've noticed John
 
 
# maisiedotts 2013-01-26 16:18
Would be a good idea for him to take the cap off first at any rate!
 
 
# Louperdowg 2013-01-26 15:55
“We are very, very satisfied with the staffing we have got around Good Morning Scotland - it’s our flagship news programme.”

No comment required.
 
 
# Yesitis 2013-01-26 16:04
@Ayes On The Prize
Agreed.
If the Yes campaign are to dismantle all the unionist lies and propaganda regarding an independent Scotland, it will, at some point have to deal with the unionist media, and in particular, the BBC in Scotland.
 
 
# Seagetagrip 2013-01-26 16:20
Ayes on the Prize.

Great idea!
 
 
# george davie 2013-01-26 18:05
Found this link via the "Labour For Independence" Facebook page.

guardian.co.uk/.../...

Journalist Kevin McKenna talks about his move from solid Unionist to probable "Yes" voter.

Sounds very similar to a friend of mine who is a Labour supporter but intends voting "Yes".
 
 
# Teri 2013-01-26 18:41
Carrying out telephone surveys I have found quite a few labour voters who intend to vote yes in the referendum. I even found one conservative! but no libDems so far. I suppose the LibDems wont really know what they intend to do till the time comes as they seem to spend their lives swaying to and fro.
 
 
# Macart 2013-01-26 23:36
Another eye opener from Mr McKenna and well worth the read.
 
 
# cynicalHighlander 2013-01-26 19:52
I hope they strike 5 days of the week as there guff and manipulation is damaging democracy.

Ireland’s Minister for European Affairs: scotreferendum.com/.../...

Quote:
I want to thank you for a brief but informative meeting yesterday. I am concerned that an interview which I conducted with the BBC is being misconstrued and wanted to assure you that it certainly was not my intention to interfere in any way with your domestic debate.

It certainly was not my intention to intervene in the Scottish debate about the future of your country. As I stated clearly to the BBC (though perhaps they did not show it) this is a question exclusively for the Scottish people and I fully respect that fact.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2013-01-26 20:28
Excellent link sir, thank you.
I wil expect to see top of the BBC news and MSM front page retractions and suitable apologies tout de suite, if they have not started to appear already !!!
Aye, right
 
 
# Marian 2013-01-26 20:13
Perhaps John Boothman has myopia.

According to Wikipedia John Boothman is the long term partner of former Labour cabinet minister Susan Deacon.

Presumably the Irish Minister for European Affairs important comment that it was exclusively a matter for the Scottish people was omitted from the BBC report because of the same technical fault that always appears to happen when an SNP minister is responding to some silly unionist scare story.
 
 
# bringiton 2013-01-26 20:37
Imagine a situation a few years down the road when Cameron and his pals are agitating for either a renegotiation of the terms of Union with Europe or a complete withdrawal.
How would the good people of England react to being bombarded on a daily basis by French and German controlled media telling them that this would be a big mistake etc etc.
I think they would react in the same way that Scots will to the constant anti Scottish diatribe from the "British" media.
The Rantograph,Mail and BBC would be in the forefront of outrage at perceived interference in their referendum.
 
 
# Ourchoice 2013-01-26 21:56
Agree with the last comment of bringiton. Is the interference from down south of the border, bordering on the illegal in terms of International law?
 
 
# chicmac 2013-01-27 00:17
Not sure that anything covers broadcasting of one country to another.

However, that is not the situation in the UK. In the UK broadcasting is a reserved matter. Somewhat paradoxically that DOES bring it into conflict with European Human Rights legislation. The government has to guarantee that any state controlled/franchised public broadcasting company has to provide pluralistic and balanced coverage in accord with the treaty on Human Rights. Specifically in the case of the Human Right to Expression. As well as guaranteeing the right to say what you think/demonstrate/march about something, it also covers the right to receive information.

Several countries have thus been prosecuted for failing to do this in the European Court.

The barrier to doing this in the UK is the high court costs involved, the highest in the World.

There was talk of extending the Aarhus costs capping agreement to cover freedom of expression complaints.
 
 
# From The Suburbs 2013-01-26 22:46
Cameron's referendum plans have fatally wounded the NO Scotland campaign.

However No point just complaining to Newsnet Scotland, everyone one of us must complain about EVERY specific example of bbc bias to every newspaper in the land and to all radio phone ins.

Sheer volume of complaints will force them to draw attention to such bias.
 
 
# kenneth_clark336 2013-01-26 23:45
Sorry Suburbs, your premise would be sound in a society where principles were sacrosanct. However, I challenged the editor of the Courier, who had been calling for an open and honest debate on the referendum, to have the courage to publish the McCrone report as a way of expediting such a process. My request was met with silence, and I haven't had a letter printed since. Coincidence? I don't think so. I read weekly in the letters page of that paper comments by a number of Unionist supporters who are regular contributors, stating 'facts' which are easily challenged, but my efforts to do so are never printed. Thankfully there are some who haven't offended enough to have their views silenced, but it is, and I make no apologies for using the word, censorship, by people abusing their position as 'news' providers to Scots. The BBC are not the only guilty party, but they have the highest profile, with a gravitas and trust they do not deserve. The internet is our weapon, we must use it.
 
 
# Soloman 2013-01-27 00:32
Surely if there is a strike there will be a picket line! Probably a good time for some extra banners to help support the cause..........Probably get reported by most other TV stations!
 
 
# Hillside 2013-01-27 01:46
Just come here from reading the article 'Sturgeon in EU commitment pledge' on BBC news where a sub-heading titled 'Humiliated' quotes a 'spokesman for the better together campaign' saying 'Sturgeon's position has no credibility'. Is this a new tactic by the BBC: Nicola Sturgeon is expected to answer every criticism, yet her critics (who are given equal space) are allowed anonymity? Every day I become more angered by this so called 'debate'.
 
 
# Jacko 2013-01-27 02:42
Sorry but the sooner this propaganda arm of the British state is shut down and the funds redirected for an SBC the better.

I for one am fed up with the patronising drivel repeatedly pushed out by the likes of Jackie Bird, Raymond Buchanan, Glen Campbell, Gary Robertson, Hayley Millar, Kaye Adams, Shereen Nanjiani, Brian Taylor, et al.

GMS and Brian's Big Debate are nothing more than an SNP hatefest and as for Reporting Scotland ..... I find it astonishing that they repeatedly consider 40/50/60 year old stories in anyway newsworthy.

Scotland is a modern, vibrant, diverse and lively nation.

Why oh why does Reporting Scotland consider the sinking of a ship 50 years ago or the first pony trek 60 years ago in any way relevant to Scottish news today? It's a farce of a news program.

So long and good riddance I say. Not a shred of integrity to be found in the entire BBC Scotland current affairs department.
 
 
# Robabody 2013-01-27 17:36
Since I no longer watch BBC news in any format Jacko I can only surmise that the 50 year old ship sinking was an article covering the loss of MV Princes Victoria?
I my old home town of An t-Sron Reamhar and in Latharna in Eirinn* it is still raw and sadly remembered. It was probably under reported at the time as a north sea surge had roared down the east coast and caused havoc across Scotland, the low lying east coast of England and Holland. Some say the loss should be thought of as Scotland's Titanic. Anyhow, good reads can be had here and on this occasion I would ask your forbearance with the BBC in Scotland:
en.wikipedia.org/.../...
en.wikipedia.org/.../...
*See what I did there? Looked up my Newsnet Scotland Gaelic Map - shameless plug
 
 
# scotswhahae 2013-01-27 09:57
"planned rally in Glasgow on 23rd Fenruary that will call for an open and balanced referendum debate from broadcasters,"

Is this just a union rally, or is it one where everyone who believes in the rotten BBC will be attending?
 
 
# gopher3 2013-01-27 15:44
@ Hillside

They've tried to beat Alex and failed, so now they're trying the same tactics on Nicola.
 
 
# CMISID 2013-01-27 20:18
Who is organising the rally on 23rd Feb.
 
 
# Ian Brotherhood 2013-01-27 22:52
@scotswhahae -
Aye, a wee bit detail would help - does anyone know if anything's been confirmed about the proposed rally? Sooner we get details circulated the better.
 
 
# Independista 2013-01-27 23:05
In today's Politics Show,the BBC continued to assert that Lucinda Creigton had commented that Scotland would have to re-apply for entry to the EU. More interesting, was when they actually showed the unedited interview WHAT WAS LEFT OUT.
Clearly, as was later revealed this was NOT the substance of what she had said. I quote.” I was asked about the future of negotiations with the EU in the event that Scotland votes for independence. I thought that my reply was largely in line with that of the Scottish Government. I certainly did not at any stage suggest that Scotland could, should or would be thrown out of the EU. Scottish people are clearly citizens of Europe. If my interview suggested something other than that, this was not my intention. I think my comments have been misconstrued or perhaps manipulated by some quarters.”
The real story here was Creigton’s remark that “newly independent Scotland would be welcome as an EU partner”
 
 
# redcliffe62 2013-01-28 13:12
If Creighton asked for a copy of the tape from Buchanan so his lies could be corrected it would be funny what the BBC reaction would be!
I tweeted Buchanan and asked him to show the whole interview so I could judge what was said but funnily enough got no reply.
 
 
# farrochie 2013-01-28 13:32
@BBCRaymondB has been quiet for a few days. I'd say he received more than one tweet on this subject.
@farrochie
 
 
# Dundonian West 2013-01-28 14:30
BBC in Scotland.--Comments allowed on hedges!
My Gran's getting fair excited.

bbc.co.uk/.../...
 

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