Strike threat as BBC cuts 2,050 more jobs

More than 400 jobs are to be cut from BBC news as part of a fresh round of cuts of 2,050 posts that has left staff feeling "angry and astonished".

More than 400 jobs are to be cut from BBC news as part of a fresh round of cuts of 2,050 posts that has left staff feeling "angry and astonished".

The BBC faces the threat of industrial action from unions, who accused the director general, Mark Thompson, of "ripping the heart out of BBC programme-making".

Despite the BBC's pledge to make more programmes outside London, 735 posts are being cut from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions as part of a 13 per cent reduction in the headcount across the board. Mr Thompson, who announced the cuts to staff yesterday, said the job losses would save the BBC £221m a year, which will be reinvested in programmes. He admitted: "We are going through the toughest period any of us can remember. It's a difficult and painful process, but necessary. We need to free up money to start investing in our digital future, to end our current charter in December 2006 on budget, and to show we are serious about producing value for money."

The new wave of job cuts follows confirmation last week that 1,730 posts are to be scrapped in the BBC's professional services division, bringing the total number of redundancies to 3,780. When the BBC sells off two of its commercial subsidiaries, the total reduction in the 27,000-strong workforce will be around 6,000.

The BBC's governors have approved the cuts, which will be achieved by 2008, with the majority of jobs going over the next 18 months. Overall, the cuts will save the BBC £355m a year.

Broadcasting unions reacted angrily to the second tranche. The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Jeremy Dear, said: "First Mark Thompson severed the BBC's arteries with the announcement of 1,700 job losses in professional services, now we face the prospect of him ripping the heart out of BBC programme-making." He added: "There's a real threat to BBC news and current affairs staff and to programme-making staff. They are asking 80 per cent of the staff to produce 100 per cent of the programmes. Amongst BBC staff, the general reaction is one of anger and astonishment."

Luke Crawley, of the broadcasting union Bectu, said: "This is the worst day in the BBC's history. I can't see how the BBC will deliver all Thompson's promises about new services after ditching so many staff. Life for those who survive is going to be miserable."

Union leaders are meeting tomorrow to plan a joint response. They have already stated that they will ballot for strike action if the BBC presses ahead with compulsory redundancies.

In an internal memo, the BBC's head of news, Helen Boaden, said the department would make savings of £34m a year. About 420 posts will be cut in the news division - about 12 per cent of the total workforce - including 100 jobs in newsgathering, 86 in television news, 75 in radio news, 44 in news interactive, 37 in television current affairs and 10 in political programmes.

The job losses in news are expected to come from areas where correspondents are currently "doubling up" - covering the same stories for different bulletins. The NUJ said it expected Scotland and Newcastle to be among the worst-hit areas, although the BBC said the cuts in Scotland were on a par with Northern Ireland and Wales.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee