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BBC journalists in cuts walkout.

Byline: Brendan Hughes

ALMOST 100 journalists at BBC Wales' Cardiff headquarters are expected to join UK-wide strike action today against compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will be picketing today outside BBC Wales in Llandaff in the one-day strike action, which began at midnight.

Regional news bulletins produced by the broadcaster are likely to be affected due to the reduced staff numbers.

The strike follows proposals by the BBC to slash budgets by 20% over the next five years, beginning in 2013.

NUJ members say staff at the broadcaster have already been struggling to cope with budgets cuts over several years.

The union has also accused BBC top management of purposefully avoiding talks ahead of the UK-wide strike.

Martin Huws, an NUJ representative for BBC Wales staff, is a senior Welsh language broadcast journalist based in Cardiff.

The 60-year-old said: "We think that it is an important principle and we need to make a stand.

"It seems the BBC senior management aren't interested in negotiations. We have offered five ways to stop the strikes, but all these have been refused by senior management during negotiations.

"Nobody wants to lose a day's pay, but we feel we need to make a stand."

Thousands of BBC journalists across the UK are expected to join today's strike action.

Staff from BBC offices in Swansea, Carmarthen, Aberystwyth, Bangor and Wrexham will also be taking part in the strike.

The BBC has been considering reductions in all its coverage of Wales. The news department is to be reduced to a service consisting only of core news bulletins and related programmes. Several political programmes including The Politics Show could be axed, along with many current affairs programmes such as Week In Week Out.

And coverage of Welsh events, including the Eisteddfod and Royal Welsh Show, is set to be reduced.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are disappointed that the NUJ is intending to strike and apologise to our audience for any disruption to services this may cause.

"Industrial action will not alter the fact that the BBC is faced with a number of potential compulsory redundancies, following significant cuts to the central government grants that support the World Service and BBC Monitoring."

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* Proposals to slash budgets by 20% have angered journalists at BBC Wales
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 15, 2011
Words:384
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