BBC and unions close to final agreement over job cuts

The BBC and its unions have reached an agreement in principle over plans to axe 1,800 jobs over the next five years.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson announced the plans in October 2007 as part of a cost-cutting drive in response to a funding shortfall.

In a joint statement, all parties said they welcomed the progress made so far on jobs, allowances and pensions and would continue to work together to achieve an ‘acceptable’ final settlement.

Director of BBC people Stephen Kelly said: “The negotiations with the trade unions had been very constructive given the complexity of the issues and the BBC’s financial position.

“We are hopeful that the proposed agreement will settle the dispute and enable the BBC to make the necessary changes required for the benefit of our audiences,” he said.

Gerry Morrissey, head of the broadcasting union Bectu, said: “This set of negotiations with the BBC has been particularly difficult given the financial constraints on the BBC and the number of areas targeted for cuts, all of which impact significantly on staff.”

The agreement is subject to acceptance by a consultative ballot of Bectu, the National Union of Journalists and Unite members.

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