Friday, October 1 2010,
BroadcastingLabour party leader Ed Miliband has called on BBC staff not to go ahead with their planned strike action during next week's Conservative Party conference.
The first of two 48-hour walkouts over changes to the BBC's pension scheme is due to start next Tuesday during the conference, and coincide with David Cameron's keynote speech on Wednesday.
However, Miliband said today that the prime minister's speech must be broadcast on the BBC's TV and radio services in the "interests of impartiality and fairness".
He added: "Whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute, they should not be blacking out the prime minister's speech.
"My speech was seen and heard on the BBC and in the interests of impartiality and fairness, so the prime minister's should be."
Miliband's comments echo recent calls by several BBC News presenters - including Jeremy Paxman and Huw Edwards - that the timing of the strike threatens the corporation's due impartiality.
The National Union Of Journalists is meeting with fellow unions Bectu and Unite this afternoon to make a final decision on whether to forge ahead with the strike action.
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