Unions bullish over strike action after job cut plans unveiled at BBC

BBC trade unions have repeated their warning of strike action after plans to make up to 1,800 staff redundant in the next five years were revealed earlier today.

Officials from broadcasting union Bectu, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Unite are due to brief BBC union representatives on the potential job cuts at the corporation.

Senior representatives were briefed this morning by director general Mark Thompson, whose savings package is intended to deal with a £2.2bn shortfall in BBC funding over the next six years.

Members of the BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, yesterday approved the package, and confirmed that the BBC would still be expected to introduce a range of new services.

The departments most heavily hit include BBC Vision, which makes children’s and entertainment TV shows, and BBC News, both nationally and regionally.

The meeting of representatives is expected to demand that the BBC should put in place a top-level negotiating framework to ensure that any staff threatened with redundancy get the best possible opportunity for re-skilling or redeployment.

Union officials have stressed that industrial action ballots could take place across the BBC if management refuses to agree a national-level framework, or if the BBC prematurely calls for volunteers for redundancy.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “It is an abdication of the BBC Trust’s responsibility to rubber-stamp plans that will undermine quality and lead to the sacking of front-line staff. It is inevitable that anger will grow and calls for strike action will get louder.”

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