The voice of members of The Canadian Media Guild, Fredericton.

Friday, August 19, 2005

BBC unions support Guild, condemn strikebreaking feed

The following statement appears on the web site of the National Union of Journalists, one of the unions at the British Broadcasting Corporation:

NUJ concerned over BBC strikebreaking after lockout by Canadian broadcaster

The NUJ and BECTU have called for urgent talks with the BBC to ensure it does not help fill the news void at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) after it locked out 5,500 of its staff.

CBC management shut the doors on Monday morning (15/08/05) following a breakdown of talks in a dispute over casualisation and temporary contracts.

It is increasingly clear that BBC material is being used to fill CBC news slots. The NUJ and Bectu will not tolerate their members’ work being used against colleagues in Canada.

The National Union of Journalists and BECTU have issued the following statement:

The NUJ and BECTU condemn the use of material from BBC World to replace regular news programmes during the lockout of more than 5,500 staff at Canadian national broadcaster CBC.

The NUJ and BECTU express their total support for the campaign by CBC workers to oppose increasing casualisation of the industry and for the right to a fair contract.

The NUJ and BECTU call for urgent talks with BBC management to demand it takes action to stop the BBC being seen to be used by management to break the strike and to preserve the reputation of the BBC for impartiality. We will demand that action is taken to ensure BBC journalists are not seen to be helping management maintain production during the course of the dispute.

The NUJ and BECTU will provide full support and assistance to journalists who refuse to do CBC handoffs while the lockout is continuing.

The NUJ and BECTU will organize UK solidarity actions to support Canadian Media Guild members.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This dispute is about maintaining quality and protecting the rights of thousands of media workers. We will not stand idly by and allow management to attempt to break the strike by the use of BBC material. BBC management must act now so they do not stand complicit in taking sides in this dispute.”

Martin Spence, Assistant General Secretary of BECTU, added: "The BBC's support for a broadcaster who has locked out its staff rather than talk to them can only make CBC management bolder, and will probably lengthen a dispute that should never have happened in the first place. The last thing the BBC needs is this kind of damage to its reputation at a time when the debate about its own future is beginning."

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