Please don't cross the picket line
On Monday, for the first time in my life I will be on strike, and on a picket line.
The BBC management and the unions recognised by the BBC are in dispute over a "cost-saving plan" that will see at least 3,500 jobs lost, and further outsourcing and privatisation of the corporation's staff and assets. That means changes affecting one in five members of staff. Given the public negotiating stance of both the BBC's management and the unions I find it difficult to see where a compromise can be found.
I won't be striking for fun or to have a day off. I won't be losing wages because I can afford it and it doesn't matter. I won't be on the picket line because I haven't got anything better to do.
I'll be doing it because I genuinely believe that the BBC's management is going about making these changes to the organisation the wrong way.
I think that you will find few people, especially within the BBC's New Media department, who don't think that the BBC could save money and be more efficient by using technology better and reducing some inhibiting bureaucracy. I also think you will find few people who agree that simply reducing the staff levels to 80% whilst maintaining 100% of the output and workload is the way for the BBC to go.
The deadlock means that currently the headcount reduction is being done at random as various people up-and-leave. For me this is not a way to strategically reduce costs or make efficiencies.
I am fiercely proud of the work that I and my team do, whether it is delivering the homepage, providing the vote to name the Wembley Bridge, the pan-BBC Complaints process, the system underpinning email newsletters, live chats, or dropping into the Points Of View message board as hosts and guides. I work with some of the most brilliant, intelligent and dedicated people I have ever met.
That is why I will be on strike tomorrow.
For my friends and colleagues who read this, and who are still undecided, I ask, please don't cross the picket line tomorrow.