BBC Radio Cumbria employees will strike for two days this month.

On June 7 and 8, members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will strike to protest planned changes to the station’s output, staging a picket at the Carlisle office.

This is part of strike action by NUJ staff across the BBC Local which includes local radio, local TV, and local online sites.

The strikes began with a 24-hour strike in March and ongoing work to rule.

A further strike date was planned in early May but postponed so members could vote on a revised offer from the BBC which was then rejected.

The NUJ said the BBC wants to reallocate some of the funding currently spent on local radio services towards creating more digital content for local audiences.

This, the NUJ said, will mean sharing more programmes across its 39 local radio stations after 2pm on weekdays and at most times across the weekends, which could cause job losses unless staff can be redeployed.

Belinda Artingstoll, speaking on behalf of the NUJ members at BBC Radio Cumbria, said: “We have no problem with us focussing more time and effort on digital content for our local audiences as the BBC is proposing, but we feel this could have been done with existing staffing and without cutting programmes.

“Sharing programmes is not providing a local service and we do feel this is the slippery slope towards regionalising our radio services or phasing them out completely in the long term, but we know many people rely on and/or enjoy that connection with local presenters and journalists who live in and understand their communities.

“In addition, we feel that senior managers have not taken into account the size and diversity of Cumbria.

“They are proposing a one-size-fits-all staffing template which means that we will lose our only full-time journalist in South Cumbria.

“They are suggesting that this will be partially covered by deploying TV journalists from Salford.

“This is on top of staffing cuts in late 2020.

“We are all passionate about continuing to provide a truly local service for current and future audiences, but we can’t do this if we don’t have enough local staff to gather the stories that really matter to people – for use on the radio and on digital platforms, and fewer local programmes means competing for airtime with other, often larger, stations.

“Cumbria is at a real disadvantage under these proposals.

“Senior managers tell us they are listening but they really aren’t.”

A BBC Spokesperson said: “All 39 BBC Local Radio stations including Radio Cumbria will continue to provide local programming throughout the week under these plans.

"We are passionate about serving local communities but Local Radio is just one of the ways we reach our audiences.

"We want to modernise our local services so that however licence fee payers choose to get their local information, we’ll be there across radio, television and online for many years to come.”