BBC to probe bullying claims at Birmingham studios
The BBC has launched an urgent investigation into claims of bullying and intimidation at Midlands Today in Birmingham – with outside mediators set to be brought in to quiz staff.
An unnamed Staffordshire firm is set to carry out interviews with staff at the Mailbox in the wake of revelations that employees had passed a vote of no confidence in two key managers.
A recent emergency meeting, attended by officials from the National Union of Journalists, led to no confidence votes against acting editor Mark Hayman and head of regional programmes Cath Hearne.
Staff have threatened a walkout if the alleged intimidation is not stopped, and now the corporation is understood to be in the process of calling in external mediators to probe the claims.
An unnamed employee said: “We believe that human resources want to keep Hearne and Hayman in their jobs but they have said they want to bring in a mediation company over the issue, although the process is still at a very early stage.
“The company is likely to interview all 100 staff, assess their grievances and then deliver their verdicts to management.
“But the fear is that it will take two to three weeks to get going, five to six weeks to do the interviews and further weeks to sort it out. We all hope that this is not going to be brushed under the carpet.
“The publicity has brought things to a head but the atmosphere is still pretty bad.”
The Post revealed last week that two journalists, Jeff Berliner, who has left the Mailbox, and a second unnamed broadcaster, have already lodged claims for employment tribunals.
Meanwhile, one programme director, Mel Parmer, is said to have suffered a heart attack allegedly triggered by stress.
A BBC spokesman said the corporation did not comment on staffing issues.