Was on the BBC Breakfast news this morning attacking BBC plans to cut 2500 jobs. It provoked quite a response - none more so than from Kelvin Mackenzie. Apparently I'm a siren whose job it is to get journalists to go on strike. And I love you too Kelvin.
He'll no doubt be pleased with the news that our members at the Coventry Telegraph have voted 78% in favour of strike action over staffing levels - a key issue in our Stand Up for Journalism campaign.
But back to the BBC - it's been another fraught day. The BBC responded to the unions' noon deadline at 12 noon exactly agreeing to two key union demands - that they halt the redundancy letters due to go out today and that they negotiate a national framework agreement. There are now two weeks in which to talk. If there's no deal a ballot will begin on 5 November. Here's The Guardian take on the story. And ours.
One senior BBC journalist then sent me the following email:
"6 months to plan it. 24 hours to f*** the whole process up. Who says the
bosses are invincible. Well done.". Quite.
However, the BBC's proposals are not off the table - and we are still opposed to the job cuts, the plans to remove anti-social hours payments for new starters and plans to withdraw enhanced pension payments. But our members have again shown themselves ready, willing and able to act decisively in defence of their jobs and terms and conditions.
At least that now gives a bit of breathing space to do some other work! I received a letter back from the Health and Safety Executive today after complaining that they were withholding information from a 'troublesome' journalist. Of course they were keen to reassure me they are not. We'll be watching.