BBC Changes Monday Morning Programming Schedule Amid Journalists' Strike
LONDON -- BBC journalists on Monday morning started a 24-hour strike to protest job cuts.
The campaign against the so-called "compulsory redundancies" hit the TV and radio morning-show schedule.
For example, flagship TV network BBC1's Breakfast program was replaced by a shorter news update, programming from the BBC News channel and a repeat of Escape to the Country, a show about a couple setting up a horse-riding school. The network also promoted a rerun of an episode of Heir Hunters, a series focusing on attempts to find missing or unknown heirs.
Meanwhile, Radio 4 didn't air flagship morning show Today, but instead broadcast brief news updates and reruns of archive programs about economics and the Pope.
The BBC listed the early programming changes online Monday morning but didn't immediately say how news shows later in the day might be affected.
BBC staff are scheduled to protest Monday outside the U.K. public broadcaster's offices in such cities as London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow.
The National Union of Journalists called the strike after failing to reach an agreement with management in a disagreement over the redeployment of 30 staffers.
The BBC previously said it was cutting about 2,000 positions over five years as part of an efficiency program dubbed "Delivering Quality First." The union took issue with 30 compulsory redundancies.
Representatives of the BBC's main journalists' union have criticized decisions taken by BBC top management that they say are pushing out journalists and hurting the company's ability to offer quality journalism.
Instead of redeploying staff to other parts of the BBC, managers are cutting existing staff and, at the same time, advertising for other jobs externally, according to the union.
"We are disappointed that the NUJ has gone ahead with today’s strike and apologize to our audience for the disruption to services," the BBC said in a statement. "Unfortunately industrial action does not alter the fact that the BBC has significant savings targets and as a consequence may have to make a number of compulsory redundancies. We have made considerable progress in reducing the need for compulsory redundancies through volunteers, redeployment and canceling vacant positions, and we will continue with these efforts."