Unions raise strike threat as 1,650 more BBC jobs go

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The Independent Online

The BBC's director-general, Mark Thompson, will tomorrow announce further job losses of around 1,650 - some 10 per cent more than reported last week by a BBC journalist. The cuts will be in its programming and content departments.

The BBC's director-general, Mark Thompson, will tomorrow announce further job losses of around 1,650 - some 10 per cent more than reported last week by a BBC journalist. The cuts will be in its programming and content departments.

Unions warned this weekend that they will implement a ballot for strike action on Wednesday among members, if compul- sory redundancies are announced.

Combined with other measures, the latest round of cuts will reduce the overall headcount at the corporation by over 5,000, though this is less than the 6,000 first feared by workers. The BBC hopes to achieve the reduction - some of the jobs will be outsourced - through voluntary redundancies. The cuts will be spread over several years.

Staff who accept voluntary redundancy will receive one month's pay for every year they have worked at the BBC. This could be capped at 12 months' pay for long-serving staff.

Unions are not sure how many workers will opt to take the voluntary package.

Broadcast union Bectu and the National Union of Journalists, which represents around a quarter of the BBC's 28,000 workforce, will meet on Wednesday to discuss the latest cuts.

On Friday, a report - ironically from a BBC journalist - said that Monday's announcement would see 1,500 jobs cut. This prediction is now understood to be about 150 too few. The BBC declined to comment.

Earlier this month, in the first round of cost cutting, 1,730 jobs were axed from the BBC's marketing, communications, human resources and legal departments.

Some 1,000 jobs will also be cut or outsourced when transmission business BBC Broadcast is sold later this summer. BBC Resources, which provides studio facilities, also faces being sold and having its 1,300 staff cut.

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