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Journalists target election results night as fresh strike announced

Election results night is set to be hit after BBC local journalists announced a second strike date.

The National Union of Journalists has said its members will hold a 24-hour strike from midnight on Friday 5 May over proposed changes to local news.

The planned action follows a 24-hour strike earlier this month which coincided with Budget day.

The strikes come after 83pc of those who voted backed industrial action following the BBC’s proposals to share local radio programming across its 39-station-strong network.

BBC journalists on strike in Bristol

BBC journalists on strike in Bristol

Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said: “Video didn’t kill off radio and nor will digital.

“We understand that digital services need to be improved but it shouldn’t come at the expense of local radio which is at the heart of the BBC’s public service remit.

“To go from over 100 hours a week of local programming on every radio station, down to just 40 is unacceptable. People want local relevant news that is accessible and NUJ members are prepared to stand up and fight for that.

“Once local radio stops being local then it is the beginning of the end and BBC bosses don’t have the right to destroy an institution that has existed for over 50 years.”

The plans, revealed in October, will result in a loss of posts and journalists having to re-apply for their own jobs.

At the time, the BBC announced the proposed loss of 139 radio roles and a concurrent investment in local digital journalism to create 131 new jobs.

A compromise put forward by the BBC which would have seen less content sharing was rejected by 70pc of NUJ members, according to the union.

A BBC spokesperson: “We’re disappointed that the industrial action is taking place.

“We have a plan to modernise local services across England – including more news journalists and a stronger local online service – which will see no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding.

“Our goal is a local service across tv, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities.

“We will continue to engage with the trade union and do everything possible to minimise the impact on staff.”