More than 200 BBC NI journalists to strike during local election count

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More than 200 journalists from the BBC will be on strike as results start to come in for the Northern Ireland local elections.

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members working across BBC Northern Ireland will begin strike action at 00.15am on Friday for 24 hours.

Voters across Northern Ireland are casting their ballots for candidates for local councils on Thursday, with 462 seats available across 11 councils.

The strike action is to oppose cutbacks to Radio Foyle’s morning show, as well as the restructuring of services in Northern Ireland, which includes reallocation of funds to digital services.

NUJ assistant general secretary Seamus Dooley said the union recognised the impact of striking on a significant news day.

“We have been engaged in comprehensive negotiations, but we have not made sufficient progress to meet the expectations of our members,” he said.

“The decision to strike on such a significant news day has not been taken lightly and reflects frustration on the part of NUJ members.

“They want to report the news rather than make their own headlines, it is regrettable that they find themselves in this situation.

“We assure viewers, listeners and readers that the priority of the NUJ is the maintenance of public service broadcasting and that commitment informs this dispute.”

Paul Siegert, national broadcasting organiser, said striking journalists were protecting services.

“Over 200 journalists will be on pickets tomorrow, voting with their feet against the BBC’s plans that threaten their jobs and profession. The public have rallied behind members, recognising this strike is about defending services journalists are committed to protecting,” he said.

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