This month’s NEC gave the green light to two important campaigns which members are urged to get involved in. The first is against the cuts at the BBC. By now this campaign is well underway with many media interviews being undertaken following the cuts announced by BBC director general Mark Thompson. These were co-ordinated with our colleagues in BECTU. The media unions believe that these cuts are about surrendering to the present commercial and political attacks on the BBC. In response, Murdoch and others have said that they don’t go far enough! Some even want an end to the BBC licence fee. Of course the BBC should be vigorously judged and held to account on the basis of its Charter, not on what suits its commercial rivals interests.
So far there has been a great public outcry against many of the proposals, A Facebook group, Save BBC6 Music has been set up, 38 Degrees has launched a petition which can be found at: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/BBCCutsC#petition
and celebrities have flocked to the defence of the Asian Network.
The campaign provides us with great opportunities to build the union by recruiting new members and increasing the number of activists. Publicity materials are being produced and rallies and meetings organised. Our parliamentary group both pre and post general election will also be involved. In addition the campaign will be linked into the union’s pre-election activity (see earlier blog – Remembering Michael – 11 March 2010 and see below).
The campaign is a long one, with the Trust’s cuts now out for public consultation. We have until 2 June to respond and details can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/march/strategic_review.shtml
Negotiations between the unions and the BBC management on the final proposals are likely to start at the end of the year.
Meanwhile the union is shortly launching our ‘Make you vote count’ campaign in the run up to the general election, expected on 6 May. The general and local elections give us an opportunity to raise the profile of our key industrial issues with candidates. Branches and chapels will be asked to organise lobbying/hustings/public meetings. Details will be circulated to branches and chapels and will appear on the NUJ web site.