BBC journalists for the West Midlands have been braving the cold and wet weather to take a stand against plans to cut local radio output.

National Union of Journalists members at BBC Birmingham at The Mailbox walked out on strike today (Wednesday March 15) at 11am to campaign against cost-cutting plans the union believes will kill off local radio.

The union says the proposed changes would see BBC local radio stations share programmes with neighbouring stations after 2pm on weekdays and at weekends. Some news bulletins would also be pre-recorded.

The plans would also result in a loss of posts and journalists having to re-apply for their own jobs.

Liz Gameson, NUJ representative at BBC Radio WM, said: “These changes would see BBC Radio WM lose its stand-alone programme currently presented by Paul Franks between 2pm and 6pm.

“There would also be a reduction of stand-alone programmes across evenings and weekends.

“Other cities like Manchester and Liverpool are keeping their own drive time programmes, why isn’t Birmingham and the Black Country?

“This dispute is not about pay, but the service BBC Radio WM listeners receive in exchange for their licence fee, in a region which already gets a raw deal.”

NUJ members are expected to hold the picket line on the steps of The Mailbox until 11am tomorrow morning (Thursday March 16) at 11am, with work to rule action commencing afterwards.

Further strike action is also being considered and could coincide with the local elections, the King’s Coronation or the Eurovision Song Contest.

The planned changes are part of the BBC’s strategy for developing its digital offering, but the NUJ believes digital services can be improved by working differently and using technological solutions.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are obviously disappointed that the strike has gone ahead.

“We have a plan to modernise local services across England - including more news journalists and a stronger local online service - which will see no overall reduction in staffing levels or local funding.

"Our goal is a local service across TV, radio and online that delivers even greater value to communities.

"We will continue to engage with the trade union and do everything possible to minimise the impact on staff."