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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 22:44 GMT
BBC 'will cut 1,500 extra jobs'
Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson says a BBC overhaul will bring 355m savings
The BBC is to cut about 1,500 jobs in news and other programmes over three years, it has been claimed.

Complex plans were approved by the corporation's governors and later director general Mark Thompson met the three broadcasting unions.

In leaked details, a senior source said these cuts would be on top of those already planned. Unions have said they will fight the cuts.

The BBC has declined to comment before an official announcement on Monday.

BBC governors approved plans to make 15% budget savings in the meeting with management on Thursday to discuss Mr Thompson's plans for the corporation's future.

Details of the latest cuts were leaked to the BBC's Labour Affairs Correspondent Stephen Cape, by a senior well-placed source.

The source said that every BBC department would be affected by the job losses, including news, sport, children's programmes and new media.

'200m savings'

He warned that some departments would be hit harder than others. Savings of around 200m will be made from "content and output".

There is likely to be an angry reaction from the unions. They will meet on Wednesday to plan their next step and are expected to consider a ballot for industrial action.

Michael Grade
Michael Grade is chairman of the BBC governors

The National Union of Journalists said they would oppose the cuts.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: "If the figures being circulated are accurate it represents a devastating blow to BBC news and programme making.

"How does the BBC believe it can maintain high standards and quality in the face of such massive self-inflicted cuts?

"You can't sack thousands and then ask hard working staff to take on huge amounts of extra work and still expect to maintain high standards.

"We've never been opposed to change - but we will resist changes which mean the axing of thousands of jobs, extra stress and pressure on those who remain and a poorer service for viewers and listeners."

Progress review

The corporation has made it clear that it is not just about "reducing the headcount" but using money to reinvest in drama, comedy, music and especially in original journalism, as well as more money for operations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Following Thursday's meeting, the governors issued a statement saying they endorsed the director general's plans to tell BBC staff of the changes in content and output divisions.

They also said there would be a progress review in June.

Last week Mr Thompson said cost savings across the BBC are expected to reach 355m - 35m more than the original 320m target.

He also announced 1,730 losses across the professional services divisions.

The cuts in the division, which includes finance, human resources and marketing, will see some 750 jobs outsourced alongside 980 post closures - a 40% reduction in staff.

Although the areas of the BBC affected will be made aware of the level of the latest cuts on Monday, staff will not necessarily know if their jobs are safe for several months.

Broadcasting union Bectu is concerned BBC employees who escape redundancy in the current round of cuts will have to pick up the work of others who leave.




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