BBC warned of strike action amid plans to merge news channels – Yahoo News UK

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The BBC has been warned it could be hit by a walkout by journalists amid plans to merge its news channels.
In a letter from Frances O’Grady, the leader of the Trades Union Congress, director general Tim Davie has been advised against plans to merge its UK 24-hour news channel and its global sister channel, BBC World News, into a new combined service called BBC News.
Although Ms O’Grady accepted the pressure the corporation is under, she insisted merging the two channels would “reduce newsgathering and airtime for domestic audiences”, The Guardian reports.
According to sources, BBC union members have already taken part in a consultation ballot regarding strike action, which may lead to a full ballot ahead of the coverage of the corporation’s 100th anniversary in October.
In the letter, Ms O’Grady says: “News reporting is already increasingly desk-based, and news content increasingly filled with interviews with guests with a political agenda.
“The plans appear likely to further these trends, with limited resources for sourcing stories from communities and workplaces, for investigative journalism, and for specialist correspondents.”
With the emergence of GB News and Talk TV, Ms O’Grady adds that it is essential the BBC continues its impartial coverage and reporting across all channels as it is “vital” to UK democracy.
Earlier this year, director general Tim Davie, announced a raft of cuts across the corporation after the licence fee was frozen at £159 for two years.
As well as creating the BBC News channel, CBBC, BBC Four and Radio 4 Extra will be shut down and become online-only services amid plans to achieve overall cuts of £285million a year. The closures will amount to subsequent loss of 70 jobs.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Our teams are rightly proud of the work they’re doing, and times of change are always difficult, but we need to ensure better value for licence fee payers and stop the duplication that currently exists with two parallel channels.”
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