BBC staff in Birmingham are “angry and upset” at cuts to the Asian Network, according to union leaders, as a 24-hour strike began.
Workers at the Mailbox have walked out today (August 19) in protest at production cuts in Birmingham.
The industrial action comes amid rising pressure on the BBC to spend more in the region after it reinvested just £12.40 for every £145.50 licence fee collected in the Midlands last year.
It is the latest protest sparked by a decision to move the popular Bobby Friction show to London – following the likes of Coast, Countryfile and Hairy Bikers, which have been lost to the city.
Keith Murray, BBC representative for the National Union of Journalists, said: “Our members want to demonstrate how angry they are at what is happening to the Asian Network.
“The BBC has made it quite clear that it is not interested in the views of Asian Network staff and people have just had enough.”
The strike action followed a short silent protest which took place at the Asian Network last Wednesday, August 12.
While the BBC has increased investment in Birmingham under the stewardship of city boss Joe Godwin, investment levels in the Midlands remain a fraction of any other part of the UK.
Even allowing for increased spending – largely involving shifting HR jobs to the Mailbox – little more than 13 per cent of almost £950 million a year raised for the BBC in the Midlands will be reinvested.
A BBC spokesperson said: “One Asian Network programme is moving to London following a staff restructure, prompted by ongoing efficiency savings.
“However, the station still broadcasts much of its output from Birmingham. So, it’s wrong to suggest the BBC is turning its back on Birmingham when we’re also spending twice as much in the Midlands now as we were two years ago – in difficult economic times – and moving 300 jobs to the city.
“As has been reported many times in the Post, we do make network programmes here, such as The Archers, Doctors, Father Brown and Home Front and have a clear commitment to the region. However, licence fee payers expect the BBC to be run efficiently.”