European Journalists Support Strikes at BBC

The European Federation of

Journalists today called on journalists across Europe to support journalists at

the BBC who have launched a strike campaign to defend pension rights. At the

weekend journalists staged a successful 48-hour stoppage across the network,

forcing a number of flagship programmes off the air. Now fresh actions are

planned as the network seeks to impose a "pay-more, get-less" retirement plan

on thousands of its staff.

"The BBC journalists are showing the way to tackle

head-on the media agenda of cuts and down-grading of staff rights," said Aidan

White, EFJ General Secretary. "It's a strike campaign that will resonate in all

European media houses where journalists and media staff are being targeted to

shoulder the burden of the financial crisis."

The EFJ says that European journalists are facing

savage budget cuts, declining social rights and a lack of social dialogue not

just in the broadcasting sector, but across the whole of the media landscape.

BBC journalists, who registered a 70 per cent vote

against the network's new pension plan, plan a second two-day strike on

November 15-16.

The strike campaign was launched after weeks of talks

between the unions and management failed to find an agreeable solution to the

pension fund crisis. In addition the government has told the BBC to shoulder

the costs of its World Service network which has hitherto been paid for from

the budget of the Foreign Ministry. It has also had its licence fee frozen for

six years.

The EFJ and its affiliate in the UK, the National

Union of Journalists, fear that the regime of cuts and devaluing the pension

entitlement of staff will both undermine the network's commitment to high

standards and also unfairly penalise thousands of staff who had been paying

into this fund many years.

"We've been overwhelmed over the past 2 days by the

support we've had - not just from staff right the way across the BBC, but from

the public and other workers.  BBC colleagues in our sister union, BECTU

have inundated us with messages of support, with many refusing to cross picket

lines to go into work. It's clear that staff right across the BBC are keen for

us to win - as it would mean a better pensions deal for all" said a statement

of the NUJ.

The conviction of the journalists at the BBC over the

justice of their case has led to widespread support at home and abroad and the

union plans to continue its campaign, including, if necessary, to call strikes

over the Christmas and New Year period.

"The BBC strikes are actions in which we all have a stake,"

said Arne König, EFJ President. "Which is why we shall do everything we can to

give them support from every corner of Europe."

More information

The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in

30 countries.
For more information contact the EFJ at

+32 2 235.2200