Radio Shetland off air as journalists strike

Radio Shetland will be off the air tomorrow as half of its journalists join a national strike.

The action is part of a dispute in which journalists are protesting against planned changes in the BBC pension scheme. Only journalists in the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will be taking industrial action, with those in Bectu not participating.

Three of the six Radio Shetland journalists – manager John Johnston and reporters Mike Grundon and Mark Inchley – are in the NUJ and will be picketing Lerwick’s BBC premises in Pitt Lane at 11am tomorrow.

The strike will affect both news programmes produced by BBC Radio Shetland – a six minute long bulletin at lunchtime and the half hour Good Evening Shetland at 5.30pm. Radio Shetland is part of the Orkney, Shetland, Aberdeen and Dundee union chapel.

The NUJ has called for two 48-hour strikes, the first held today and tomorrow, but Radio Shetland does not broadcast on a Saturday.

A statement from NUJ president and BBC rep in Scotland Pete Murray read: “The NUJ has called two 48-hour strikes at the BBC against plans to dismantle the staff pension scheme. Union members voted by more than nine to one in favour of industrial action. Now, despite two overwhelming votes against the BBC’s proposals, man­agement are preparing to impose a cocktail of arrangements which will effectively destroy the final salary scheme and replace it with one which will require staff to pay substantially more in return for substantially less in benefits.

“In a second ballot last month, NUJ members again voted compre­hensively to reject the current prop­osals as neither fair nor acceptable and we are united and determined to take this action to stop the BBC from robbing hard-working members of staff of the benefits they were promised.”

A rally will be held outside the BBC studios in Glasgow between 11.30am and 12.30pm. Local MPs, MSPs and officials from sister unions have been invited to attend.


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