BBC Changes Monday Morning Programming Schedule Amid Journalists' Strike

Georg Szalai
The Hollywood Reporter
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 about a couple setting up a horse riding school. The network also promoted a re-run of an episode of Heir Hunters, a show focusing on attempts to find missing or unknown heirs.

Meanwhile, Radio 4 didn't air flagship morning show Today, but broadcast brief news updates and re-runs 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 may 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 leading 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.