The BBC is the UK's Olympics broadcast rights holder
The BBC is the UK's Olympics broadcast rights holder

BBC News programmes could be taken off air by strike action later this month, after journalists voted in favour of industrial action over compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the BBC have voted in favour of taking industrial action over compulsory redundancies. The turnout was less than 40 per cent, with 70 per cent saying they would be prepared to strike. Director of BBC News Helen Boaden said the BBC had "done all we can to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies".

As many as a 1,000 further journalism posts will be lost across BBC News and the World Service as part of corporation plans to merge the two newsgathering operations and make annual savings of £89m.

"Once again NUJ members at the BBC have shown they will not accept compulsory redundancies," said Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ general secretary.

"Today's result demonstrates that members at the BBC are fully prepared to stand up for their colleagues under threat. If the BBC wants to provoke a strike over such small numbers it would be shameful. We call on the BBC to get round the table with us and sort it out," Stanistreet added.

The ballot was called because the union says BBC bosses dismissed a world service journalist on the grounds of compulsory redundancy. In January BBC staff was told there were five language services of the world service that would be closing with the potential job losses standing at 680. This followed a 16 per cent cut in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) grants to the BBC world service.

On Tuesday, Ms Boaden wrote in an email to staff that the number of posts that would be closing in World Service and BBC Monitoring would be 387.

She said managers had tried to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies by offering voluntary redundancy and redeploying staff elsewhere.

Today's result demonstrates that members at the BBC are fully prepared to stand up for their colleagues under threat"

"In the World Service, so far we expect 66% of staff whose posts are closing to take voluntary redundancy or be redeployed," she said.

In BBC Monitoring this figure is 33%.

The NUJ have called for no compulsory redundancies among NUJ members and have called on the BBC to resolve the outstanding cases. There is a belief within the union that there are workable solutions in all cases. Continuing, the BBC has been told they should be spending money on protecting core journalism and programming for audiences. The NUJ welcomed the principle endorsed by chairman of BBC Trust of linking median and top pay at the BBC.

Another British company in Virgin Atlantic will be facing a strike action from its pilots this summer. Click here for all latest news on the Virgin Atlantic pilots' strike