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On strike … but why?

On strike … but why?

It’s Monday. I should be at work – but like a lot of other staff, I’m joining a lot of colleagues and going on strike. For the first time ever. Or as I prefer to term it (since striking invokes rather painful images of the Miners’ Strike), I’m not going to cross a picket line.

I’ve been struggling to articulate just why I’m going on strike – after all, the strikes will not do anything to stop the job cull, and the unions have been a tad overzealous in their demands. The BBC is a tad bloated, and needs trimming back. But I think currybetdotnet and Media Guardian outlined the reasons best as to why I’m not working. Put simply, the cull isn’t organised – it just seems utterly random and designed to make the BBC smaller, not necessarily better. With random culls, people who should be let go in order to advance the BBC probably won’t be. Although this argument does run to ground somewhat when you realise everyone else in every department is probably saying the same thing.

Tensions have been somewhat high in the workplace, even in a relatively easy-going place like BBC Wales. A prank email that ostensibly came from a friendly union organiser mentioning stun grenades did not go down well with some humour-disabled colleagues. Apparently, the unions aren’t even talking to BBC journalists (very mature!) and some union people are “using handheld video cameras to film the trickle of workers who ignored signs urging them not to cross picket lines” – rather Orwellian if you ask me. I just hope it doesn’t descend into some bitter inter-necine civil war a la Revenge of the Sith.

It’ll be interesting to see just how many people do go on strike. There has been a rather ferocious propaganda war alternatively claiming solid support, and then weak support.

It’ll also be black fun watching various live BBC channels struggle to broadcast as normal. At the stroke of midnight, BBC News 24 started playing “Recorded” news bulletins from BBC World, its’ international commercially-funded news channel.

Of course, down here, it only took 5 minutes to make sure that most of the websites I work on wouldn’t be affected by the strike. Indeed, only one will be arduously affected.

The final word goes to the head of BBC Human Resources, Mr. Stephen Dando. Spotted via The CopyDesk, here is one of his lessons:

“When instigating changes, involve everyone in the organisation. The biggest resistance is to missives that are externally driven, or come from the top down.”

Obviously, easier said than done when push comes to shove.


  • I was rather bewildered – despite advance warning that it would be off-air – to find the Today programme replaced with Just a Minute.

    I'm also entertained that when ITV go on strike "no-one notices" but when the BBC does, the schedules go to pot. That's a proper strike, that is.

  • Well you're not missing much to be honest. I always thought strikes were a sign of protest – rather than a sulk.

    There's a handful (of fingers) of people with signs and everyone else is off having a lovely day away.

    How very nice… πŸ˜‰

  • Hm… sounds like just a good excuse not to go to work. Like your job is THAT hard anyway. Geez. Well, good luck. Can you get fired or anything? I hope not. May the force be with you! πŸ˜‰

  • You were on strike so you could come and meet me for lunch. Weren't you?

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