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Journalism union launches fresh bid to stop local BBC cuts

Journalism union bosses are stepping up their campaign to stop planned cuts to local news and radio services at the BBC.

The National Union of Journalists is urging the BBC to reconsider planned cuts in Northern Ireland, where the daily breakfast news programme on BBC Radio Foyle is set to be scrapped.

The Derry-based station will also lose its hourly regional news bulletins as part of a plan to save £2.3m, with an estimated 36 jobs being placed at risk as a result of the proposals.

The NUJ’s Derry & North West branch has now announced it is hosting a public meeting next month to gauge opposition to the proposals.

Derry Guildhall

Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting officer, said: “The BBC claims to value local radio but these plans prove otherwise.

“News of changes at Radio Foyle has angered members who work hard to bring news and value to all who tune in.

“Journalists and the local community all recognise that this approach is the wrong one take in the pursuit of savings.

“Quality journalism at Radio Foyle is an asset to the BBC and these ill-thought proposals must be reconsidered.”

The public meeting will be held in Derry’s Guildhall, pictured, at 6.30pm on 4 January.

BBC Northern Ireland has declined to comment on the NUJ’s campaign, but previously said that its plans “reflect a BBC-wide strategy to prioritise digital content, announced earlier this year, and the need to manage inflationary and other cost pressures”.

It added: “BBC Northern Ireland is proposing to close approximately 35-40 posts to contribute to its £2.3m savings and reinvestment plans.

“Efforts have been made to limit the effect of proposed changes on the scope and benefits of BBC services in Northern Ireland and local staff teams.”

The NUJ is also opposing the BBC’s plans for local radio services in England which could see 179 jobs go, with 131 new roles to be created in digital services.