BBC strike takes down news programming

A 24-hour walk-out by BBC staff hit several of its most prominent news programmes this morning, with BBC Breakfast and the Today programme being cancelled.

Listeners to the flagship news programme on BBC Radio 4 woke up to replacement programming, while TV watchers had to do without their usual schedule. The BBC News channel continued to broadcast but without the usual presenters.

"My God, I miss BBC Breakfast. Give them what they want!" one viewer tweeted.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet led staff out the BBC's central London studios just after midnight in a well-supported action which saw picked lines mounted outside BBC studios and offices across the UK.

"NUJ members across the BBC are taking action to defend jobs and quality journalism at the corporation," she said.

"They are angry and frustrated at the poor decisions being taken at the top of the BBC – decisions that are leading to journalists being forced out of their jobs and quality journalism and programming compromised.

"Instead of making sure that the redeployment process works properly in all areas of the BBC, managers are prepared to waste public money on needless redundancies and sacrifice the livelihoods of experienced and talented journalists, at the same time as advertising other jobs externally.

"It's particularly disappointing that the BBC has failed to engage meaningfully in attempts to resolve this dispute – an abdication of responsibility for a public service broadcaster."

Compulsory redundancies are hitting staff in Scotland, in BBC South, the Asian Network, Newsbeat, Five Live, the World Service and English Regions.

A BBC spokesman said: "We understand how frustrating and difficult situations involving redundancies can be, but it is disappointing the NUJ have chosen to take this action.

"We are working hard to ensure that we succeed in getting staff redeployed wherever we can and will continue to work with the unions to ensure that their members receive the right redeployment support."