LONDON — BBC’s flagship programmes could be severely disrupted by strike action as unions announced Tuesday they are to ballot thousands of staff over concerns at job cuts, pay and working conditions.
Journalists, technicians and other staff at the British broadcaster will decide on November 4 whether they are to strike with hit shows Strictly Come Dancing and Sports Personality of the Year both in line to be affected.
The corporation has been in talks with the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (Bectu), Unite, and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) since announcing 2,000 jobs cuts earlier this month.
The broadcaster also announced changes to working terms and conditions as it strives to make savings of 20 percent — or £670 million ($1070 million, 770 million euros) a year — by 2016/17.
The vote’s result is not expected until November 24, so any action is likely to be scheduled for December.
“We want a proper structure for dealing with job losses,” said Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey.
“Without a change to the BBC’s position, we are under no illusions that a vote for strike action will mark the start of a programme of industrial action which could affect the highlights of the BBC’s autumn/winter schedule including the Strictly Come Dancing finals and the Sports Personality of the Year awards.”
Unions also did not rule out the possibility of industrial action during next year’s showpiece Olympic Games in London.