The Socialist

The Socialist 5 February 2020

6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

The Socialist issue 1072

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500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

BBC Broadcasting House in central London, photo Deskana (Creative Commons)

BBC Broadcasting House in central London, photo Deskana (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Anton McCabe, National Union of Journalists national executive committee (personal capacity)

BBC top management have announced that 500 journalists' jobs are to go. This is a direct attack on the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). BBC journalists are the largest single group in the union.

All is far from perfect in the BBC. That said, because of union organisation it is one of the better-paid sections of the union, with better conditions. A defeat for BBC members would embolden employers across the media.

Cuts are to be spread across the world service, radio and news.

The implications of the cuts go beyond the pay and conditions of journalists. They directly touch on the public's right to know. Newsnight is being particularly targeted. Half of its in-depth films are to be cut. Its investigative journalism is also to be reduced.

Newsnight investigations have exposed a number of important scandals, involving politicians and major business figures. Because of their complexity, and the draconian nature of the libel laws, these are usually the sort of investigations that only a large organisation like the BBC can undertake.

A significant part of this is the Johnson government trying to silence the BBC and intimidate it into restricting itself to 'safe' programming.

Internationally, the BBC provides the most comprehensive news coverage, through the world service and other platforms. It is not above criticism. However, it is provided by journalists who are mostly members of the NUJ.

Weakening the BBC is to allow news coverage to be filtered through Rupert Murdoch and his ilk. They are profit-driven, with an explicitly right-wing agenda, and non-union.

BBC News is not just about world events and exposing scandals. BBC local news provides a news service for communities across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

That is very important because, between 2004 and the end of 2018, there was a net loss of 245 local newspapers. It is no longer unusual for large towns not to have a local paper.

These are important for covering local issues - and covering local campaigns. BBC regional and TV journalism often has to make up the gap.

The NUJ has said it will resist the BBC cuts. Plans have yet to be announced. Any action the union takes must have the widest support from the trade union movement.

In this issue


6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

Labour leadership contest and public ownership

Coronavirus exposes capitalism's weaknesses in healthcare and economy

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Refuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Them & Us


Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?

What we think

'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead

Workplace news

Huge victory for Bromley library workers after 241 days on indefinite strike!

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

Newham council tax workers' pay victory

No to academisation of east London schools!

Ealing tax office workers strike against closure


Outrageous waiting times will put lives at risk

NHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire


Syria: Assad regime consolidates power after brutal counterrevolution

Israel/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict


Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Sadiq Khan "out-Tories" himself to defend tech firms' tax bonanza

Socialist Sellers

Reading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

The rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

Support the working-class press in 2020

Defend and fight for warm, safe housing for Samira and everyone

Alternative Burns Night success

Readers' opinion

Liverpool council: "No more cuts" - Is Joe Anderson serious?

Socialist Inbox


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5 February 2020