Monday, November 28, 2016

ABC staff move no confidence motion against management over radio cuts

ABC employees have fired a warning shot at their superiors, telling them that staff have lost confidence in their ability to manage the organisation.

More than 60 Radio National staff met at the broadcaster's Ultimo office on Thursday.

They unanimously passed a motion of no confidence, citing "systemic failure" in senior radio management and "the erosion of the editorial and managerial responsibilities of executive producers".

In a copy of the motion obtained by Fairfax Media, staff called on Community and Public Sector Union organiser Sinddy Ealy to "immediately convey" their concerns to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie and ABC staff elected director Matthew Peacock.

The industrial dispute marks another blow in an already rocky start to Guthrie's tenure, which began only six months ago.

In the motion, staff expressed concern over four separate areas, including:

  • "The continuing erosion of specialist programming in music, features and religion is a serious breach of the ABC Charter and a disservice to the Australian audiences that the ABC is funded to serve."
  • "A systemic failure on the part of the senior radio management to genuinely engage or listen to the professional advice of Radio National staff about major change including the recently announced cuts to ABC jobs and programs."
  • "The unnecessary introduction of inefficient and additional layers of senior radio management in program areas - we need staff who actually make programs not more managers."
  • "The erosion of the editorial and managerial responsibilities of executive producers and content directors."

Last week, it was revealed up to seven staff would lose their jobs at Radio National with the axing of almost all of its music programming.

In an email from Radio National manager Deborah Leavitt, staff were told to "look beyond those we currently engage".

"I want new audiences who are not currently experiencing RN content to discover it, and for us to build a stronger platform for the network in an environment of greater media choice and fragmentation," she wrote.

"Changes to production models and ways of working means there will be potential redundancies. This is a particularly difficult decision on many levels, especially when it impacts talented and cherished colleagues."

In September staff moved towards striking for the first time since 2006 when Australia's workplace tribunal approved a bid by the Community and Public Sector Union to run a ballot that would enable staff to walk off the job.

No comments: