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NUJ 'withdraws confidence' in BBC NI management

[Press center6] time:2023-06-02 04:02:23 source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:news click:104order

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at BBC Foyle have "withdrawn confidence" in BBC Northern Ireland management.

They said there had been a "lack of clarity, communication and thought" over recent changes to services.

But the BBC said there had been "detailed engagement with BBC staff and the trade unions" about the changes.

''We have confidence in BBC staff and the plans that we have introduced," it said in a statement.

There have been a number of recent programme and schedule changes at BBC Radio Foyle and Radio Ulster.

From Monday, Radio Foyle's previous two-hour breakfast news programme was replaced by a half-hour programme called The North West Today.

The BBC has also said it will provide more digital news coverage and radio production from Foyle.

But when the changes were initially proposed they had attracted protests from some politicians and community leaders.

The NUJ at BBC Northern Ireland is also in the process of balloting members over industrial action, although the BBC has said that staffing levels at Foyle will remain unchanged.

But members of the NUJ branch in Foyle have said that "senior BBC managers Rhodri Talfan Davies, Adam Smyth and Kevin Kelly no longer have their confidence".

Mr Talfan Davies is BBC director of nations, Mr Smyth is director of BBC Northern Ireland and Mr Kelly is interim head of news at BBC Northern Ireland.

In a statement, members of the NUJ in Foyle outlined a number of reasons why they had "withdrawn" their confidence in senior BBC management.

They said that they had expressed "grave concerns in the run up to these changes which they feel have not been taken seriously."

The NUJ branch claimed that jobs were still at risk in Foyle and that staff had been asked "to embrace the 'digital first' approach to a working day without any training or direction on what it will involve".

The BBC has previously announced a "digital-first" strategy which will include more digital news and a significant commitment to new programmes for iPlayer.

But the Foyle NUJ branch said that there had been "no guidance on what additional duties will be thrust on staff to ensure they fulfil the digital strategy".

"Until the issues outlined can be resolved, it is with regret that we withdraw our confidence in the senior management of BBC NI," their statement concluded.

However in a statement in response a BBC spokesperson said: ''We have confidence in BBC staff and the plans that we have introduced."

"Foyle's role as a BBC newsgathering and production hub has been secured and it will continue to deliver great content for audiences across the north west and beyond."

"Our plans have benefited from detailed engagement with BBC staff and the trade unions - something that will continue."

"Our immediate priority is the enhancement of BBC digital news provision from, and about, Foyle and ensuring the success of North West Today."

(editor-in-charge:Press center2)

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