Norfolk journalists join BBC strike

BBC staff gathered outside the Forum, Norwich, today as part of a strike against pension reforms.

A picket line has been in place outside the corporation's city centre base since 4am and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) claims that the majority of the news team was not at work.

Organiser Rita Johnson said services on television, radio and online would be severely disrupted. She said: 'We are taking a stand against the BBC and the swinging cuts it intends to make to our pensions. The BBC had no idea of the opposition it would face when suggesting these cuts.'

The strike meant that there were no breakfast and lunchtime television broadcasts from the centre and radio bulletins throughout the day were also affected. It was thought that the evening television news would be reduced to just five minutes.

Ms Johnson claimed that there would be no output from locally-based journalists on Saturday.

The employees joined thousands of BBC journalists across the country in a strike over pensions.

National presenters including Fiona Bruce and Huw Edwards are reported to be joining the action, which is expected to hit news bulletins and see flagship shows Newsnight and Radio 4's Today programme taken off the air.

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Members of the NUJ began their 48-hour walkout at midnight.

They plan to strike again on November 15 and 16, and have threatened further disruption over the Christmas period.

The move follows a 70pc rejection of the BBC's 'final' offer on pensions, which the union described as making journalists 'pay more, work longer and receive lower pensions'.

The NUJ said it expected 'widespread support' from journalists for the strike and predicted that members of other unions which have accepted a deal on pensions could also refuse to cross picket lines.

BBC Director-General Mark Thompson sent a message to staff yesterday, saying that the NUJ membership represented about 17pc of the corporation's workforce.

He said: 'I believe that the package on pension reform which we have arrived at is a fair one and that it has changed in significant and positive ways as a result both of our consultation with staff and our discussions with the unions.

'To have gone further would have been to risk damage to the quality of our services to the public and to jobs.'