Journalists based at the BBC Radio Wiltshire headquarters have gone on strike for 48 hours to protest against proposed sweeping changes to local radio services.

They are part of a nationwide walkout across the country with 80 per cent of members backing the walkout including staff at BBC Points West, BBC Bristol, BBC Berkshire and BBC Oxford.

The strike started at midnight on the morning of Wednesday, June 7 and will last two days until Thursday, June 8.

The picket line can be seen outside of the BBC Wiltshire headquarters located in Prospect Place, Old Town, Swindon where staff members can be seen holding up signs that say 'stop the cuts' and 'support local news'. 

The new plans mean that BBC Radio Wiltshire's weekday afternoon show will come from Gloucester, and its evening and weekend programming will no longer be locally focussed, and will instead be regional or national. 

Swindon Advertiser: Swindon Borough Council's Labour and Conservative leaders Gary Sumner and Jim Robbins showing their support to striking BBC Radio Wiltshire staffSwindon Borough Council's Labour and Conservative leaders Gary Sumner and Jim Robbins showing their support to striking BBC Radio Wiltshire staff (Image: Karen Gardner)

And at weekends most weekend shows serving the audience in Wiltshire will come from Bristol.

These proposals have been contested by Swindon MPs Sir Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson who have written a joint letter to the government to BBC director general Tim Davie.

And the two local authority leaders for both parties, Labour's Jim Robbins and the Conservative's Gary Sumner, visited the picket line on Wednesday to lend their support as well.

Karen Gardner, Mother of the BBC Wiltshire NUJ Chapel, has addressed all of the support they've received. 

"We've all been really touched and reassured by the cross-party support from councillors and MPs and we are reassured by the fact that both the Labour and Conservative parties really see the value in our services and don’t want these changes to go ahead.

"We've also had huge support from our listeners who have been texting and messaging the station and would like BBC management to change their minds."

Kevin Stanley, NUJ Rep for BBC Nations and Regions, added: "The BBC should be looking at providing a properly funded local news service, and ensuring that the Government provides a stable funding model for this to happen.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We understand this is a difficult period of change for many colleagues and we will continue to support everyone affected by the plans to strengthen our local online services across news and audio.

"Our goal is to deliver a local service across TV, radio and online that offers more value to more people in more local communities. While the plans do impact individual roles, we are maintaining our overall investment in local services and expect our overall level of editorial staffing across England to remain unchanged.”