BBC to postpone sending out voluntary redundancy letters to staff for two weeks

The BBC is to postpone sending out letters asking for staff to come forward for voluntary redundancy for a period of two weeks, after a meeting with its unions.

Last week, the corporation’s director-general Mark Thompson announced up to 1,800 jobs were to go over the next five years.

Following a meeting of the BBC’s executive board with the joint unions of Bectu, the NUJ and Unite, the organisation has withdrawn its plans to start an immediate trawl for voluntary redundancies.

The BBC has also responded to the unions’ request for discussions on a national framework agreement but has set a tight timescale of two weeks to conclude the first stage of talks.

The framework would cover a number of issues, including redeployment and training for staff facing the threat of redundancy, and also ensuring there is consistency within the process across the corporation.

In a statement the BBC said: “We are very conscious that the overwhelming feedback from staff is that any period of uncertainty must be kept to an absolute minimum. Staff are most keen to understand their own futures and we believe delay will cause unnecessary stress.”

Gerry Morrissey, Bectu’s general secretary, said: “We are pleased Mark Thompson and the board have seen sense and are honouring the joint unions’ existing national agreement to consult the unions.”

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