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.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Social Media Director (Global) - London Bridge/Southwark

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Social Media Director (Gl...

Personal and Legal Assistant – Media and Entertainment

£28,000 - £31,000: Sauce Recruitment: A Global media business based in West Lo...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice