Doctors, teachers and BBC radio staff all take to picket lines in day of action

Junior doctors, teachers, and BBC staff have all been out on pickets in Shropshire today in the latest round of industrial action.

Junior doctors on the picket line at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
Junior doctors on the picket line at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Both junior doctors and teachers have walked out in an ongoing row over pay, while staff members at BBC Shropshire joined their colleagues in striking over proposed cuts to local radio across the country.

As on Monday and Tuesday junior doctors were on pickets outside Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital – with action due to stop on Thursday morning.

Junior doctors on the picket line at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

They had joined tens of thousands of colleagues across the country in taking the industrial action.

The co-chairs of the junior doctor committee, Dr Rob Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, said they wanted discussions with the Government over settling the dispute – but without pre-conditions.

In a statement they said: “We remain open to entering talks with the Government anytime and anywhere to bring this dispute to a swift resolution and restore the pay that junior doctors have lost.

"If the Health Secretary is truly committed to this, then he needs to drop these unreasonable pre-conditions and begin proper negotiations with us."

Junior doctors on the picket line at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Meanwhile journalists, presenters and staff at BBC Radio Shropshire, based in Shrewsbury, took to the picket lines over their concern at proposed cuts.

Under BBC plans there would be a major reduction in the amount of specific Shropshire programming provided by the radio station – a move being mirrored at stations across the country.

The Shropshire staff were joined by long-standing former colleague, one of the station's best known presenters, Eric Smith.

Former Radio Shropshire presenter Eric Smith joined BBC staff on the picket line to show solidarity.

Their colleagues around the country took part in similar action nationwide, hitting news bulletins through the day as well as BBC Midlands Today, replaced by an episode of Garden Rescue.

Elaine Muir, a producer for BBC Shropshire and the NUJ rep for the BBC Shropshire Chapel, said they were taking action to protect the service, warning the impact of the proposals would be 'devastating'.

She said: "We understand the need to be better digitally because online is important, but we do not think the BBC is going about it in the right way, and ultimately the cuts to local radio will be pretty devastating."

Elaine Muir said the proposed cuts would have a 'devastating' impact on local radio.

Under the proposals Shropshire-specific programming will only run from 6am to 2pm, Monday to Friday – being taken over by three-way regional content from Stoke, Hereford & Worcester, and Shropshire after that.

The weekend would feature a regional Midlands breakfast show, before three-way programming would return.

But if there are sporting events, such as a Shrewsbury Town match, local coverage would continue.

Workers at BBC Radio Shropshire on the picket line.

Ms Muir said they believed that local radio had to be local to fulfil its remit.

She said: "What we currently have is a huge amount of Shropshire-specific output and under these proposals they are cutting back to re-invest in digital services – whether that's written online or podcasts.

"We don't argue we need to improve our online offer, the concern is the impact it will have on local radio output. What is local radio if it is not local?"

She added: "What makes this different to other strikes across the UK is this is not about money, about pay, or about jobs being lost, this is about services that we provide that we care about, that listeners care about – and we think there are other ways to protect."

On a day of industrial action across the country civil servants, lecturers, London Underground drivers and Amazon workers also walked out.

The disputes are over pay, jobs, pensions, conditions and cuts, with warnings of more strikes if they are not resolved.

Huge numbers of strikers also joined a protest outside Downing Street while the Chancellor was delivering the Budget in the nearby House of Commons.

Meanwhile, talks are continuing over the row with nurses, ambulance crews and other NHS workers, but there has been no progress in resolving the disputes with junior doctors, teachers and civil servants.

Tube stations in London were locked as services were crippled when drivers in Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union went on strike amid union warnings of cuts to pensions and conditions.

Finn Brennan of Aslef said further strikes were "inevitable" if the dispute is not resolved.

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