Members of the National Union of Journalists at BBC Northern Ireland are staging a 24-hour strike in protest at cuts to jobs and programming. The strike began at 12.15am today.
NUJ national broadcasting organiser Paul Siegert said good progress had been made this week in talks with BBC management but there were still outstanding issues.
“There isn’t one problem there is a series of problems, the breakfast show at [Radio] Foyle which was two hours and is now just 30 minutes is one of the key issues we are trying to resolve,” he told BBC News NI.
Mr Siegert added that there was a “general unhappiness” in the Belfast newsroom, with a series of problems having built up over time.
In response to the strike, a BBC spokesperson said they “deeply regret the negative impact strike action will have on BBC services on election results day”.
“We have been engaged in comprehensive negotiations, but we have not made sufficient progress to meet the expectations of our members. The decision to strike on such a significant news day has not been taken lightly and reflects frustration on the part of NUJ members.Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary
“They want to report the news rather than make their own headlines. It is regrettable that they find themselves in this situation. We assure viewers, listeners and readers that the priority of the NUJ is the maintenance of public service broadcasting and that commitment informs this dispute.”
The strike has wiped out virtually all local programming planned for Friday across television and radio, including comprehensive coverage of the local elections.
Limited coverage of the local elections was provided on the BBC News NI website.
Local news bulletins were carried on BBC Radio Ulster from 9am until 3pm, and again at 6pm and 8pm. The daytime news updates were presented by Adam Smyth, director, BBC Northern Ireland.
Schedule changes on TV
On BBC One Northern Ireland:
- Local news updates during BBC Breakfast were replaced by a filler sequence (see below).
- The 1.30pm edition of BBC Newsline was replaced by Suzie Lee’s Home Cook Heroes.
- The Election 2023 programme planned for 3.30pm – 4.30pm was cancelled. BBC One Northern Ireland followed the network BBC One schedule from 1.45pm – 6.30pm.
- The 6.30pm edition of BBC Newsline was replaced by Weather Watchers with Barra Best.
- The 10.30pm edition of BBC Newsline was replaced by The Chronicles of Belfast.
On BBC Two Northern Ireland:
- The Election 2023 coverage planned for 7.30pm – 10pm was cancelled. BBC Two Northern Ireland followed the network BBC Two schedule instead.
Planned BBC Radio Ulster schedule for Friday
BBC Radio Ulster News: half-hourly 6.30am – 9.30am; hourly 10am – 11pm; also 4.30pm, 5.30pm and 11.55pm.
6.30am Good Morning Ulster.
9am The Nolan Show.
10.30am The Connor Phillips Show.
11.30am Mobile Disco.
1.30pm Hugo Duncan.
3.05pm The Ticket.
4.05pm Radio Ulster Election Results Special.
10.05pm The Mickey Bradley Record Show.
12am As BBC Radio 5 Live.
BBC Radio Ulster schedule as broadcast on Friday
6.30am As BBC Radio 5 Live.
9am BBC News NI Update.
9.03am As BBC Radio 5 Live.
10am BBC News NI Update.
10.04am As BBC Radio 5 Live.
11am BBC News NI Update.
11.04am As BBC Radio 5 Live.
12pm BBC News NI Update.
12.03pm As BBC Radio 2.
1pm BBC News NI Update.
1.06pm As BBC Radio 2.
2pm BBC News NI Update.
2.04pm As BBC Radio 2.
3pm BBC News NI Update.
3.04pm As BBC Radio 2.
4pm As BBC Radio 5 Live.
6pm BBC News NI Update.
6.03pm Gemma Bradley.
8pm BBC News NI Update.
8.03pm Jimeoin Meets.
8.33pm Jimeoin Meets.
9.03pm As BBC Radio 5 Live.
On-air impacts of the strike
The strike got a mention on the lunchtime UTV Live update.
PICTURED: BBC Breakfast 'continues shortly' loop. COPYRIGHT: BBC.