BBC News prod'n teams vote to strike


LONDON -- BBC News production teams have voted for strike action after being told they will have to work more shifts, unions said Wednesday.

More than 95% of staffers polled voted in favor of a 12-hour strike over the issue of planned changes to their working hours that will result in compulsory additional shifts after shift lengths are shortened from 12 hours to 8-10 hours.

Overall, the amount of hours worked is not being changed, meaning staff will have to work extra shifts in order to equal the hours they are currently on duty.

The strike plans so far do not include journalists, but producers, cameramen and technicians could be among those involved in the stoppage, potentially leading to disruption of such live programming as BBC news bulletins and coverage on BBC News 24.

Unions will decide Monday if and when action will be taken.

Luke Crawley, senior official for the broadcast and engineering union Bectu, said the ballot result showed the depth of opposition to the planned changes.

"The size of the yes vote will let BBC News know how angry people are about these enforced changes," he said. "The strikes when they come will be well supported."

A spokesman for the BBC promised a limited impact for viewers.

"We have contingency plans and we will work toward zero disruption for our audiences," he said.