BBC South journalists are going on strike for two days this week in an escalation of the continued row over plans to cut local radio output.

More than 80 per cent of members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) across England backed the walkout, which will include staff from BBC Radio Solent, BBC South Today and South news online.

The 48-hour strike – on Wednesday and Thursday, the second walkout since 15 March's 24-hour protest – comes after the BBC announced in October that it planned to axe three journalist jobs at Radio Solent and merge evening slots on the radio channel with other regions or replace them with a national programme in order to focus on local digital content.

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Read more: Southampton BBC journalists set to strike over local radio cuts

Local NUJ Rep Tom Hepworth who works for South Today said: "This is robbing Peter to pay Paul and the license fee payer will lose out.

"While we agree the BBC needs to increase the local news it does online, it should not come from cuts to the BBC Local budget.

"The BBC should be looking at providing a properly funded local news service, and ensuring that the Government provides a stable funding model to make this possible."

This comes as radio listenership figures, compiled by RAJAR, estimated BBC Radio Solent, based in Havelock Road, Southampton, reached an average of 200,000 listeners each week in the year to March.

This was down from around 286,000 in the year to March 2022.

Read more: BBC local radio cuts: Plans criticised by Winchester MP

Over this period the market share of BBC Radio Solent fell from 5.1% to 4.4% compared to other available stations.

Under the plans, BBC Radio Solent's weekday evening programmes, apart from sport, will be shared with Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Paul Miller's popular late show will be replaced by a national programme.

At weekends, other than sport, all shows on BBC Radio Solent be shared with at least Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Weekend evening programmes like Alex Dyke's disco inferno and Richard Latto's Stereo Underground will be replaced by national shows.

Tom added: "We have already seen the impact in local TV after the closure of the BBC Oxford service which means viewers see fewer local stories.

"People listen to local radio because it is local, distinctive and reflects where you live.

"How can a local radio programme stretching as far north as Banbury that might be broadcast from Reading be perceived as local?

NUJ members across England passed a vote of no confidence in the BBC Local Senior Leadership Team and 93 per cent of those polled said they didn’t back the current managers, after months of frustration over proposed changes to programmes.

The NUJ's campaign is being supported by high-profile figures including Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones.

Paul Siegert, the NUJ’s Broadcasting Organiser, said: “Members want to avoid strike action and remain doing the jobs they love. The NUJ is urging the BBC to reconsider its plans that will leave a lasting impact on local radio.”