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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March 2005, 15:52 GMT
Head to head: BBC job cuts
The BBC has announced more job losses in its programme-making divisions, bringing the total to 2,050 over three years, as it seeks to save 355m a year to reinvest in programmes.

BBC director general Mark Thompson and the National Union of Journalists' general secretary union leader Jeremy Dear give their views on the changes.

BBC DIRECTOR GENERAL MARK THOMPSON

Mark Thompson
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 providing value for money.

This is all money we plan to spend on programmes and content, both to improve the services we deliver to audiences right now and to build strong BBC services in the future.

All divisions are now finding ways of achieving these savings through genuine improvements rather than crude cuts.

There will be a lot of hard-edged activity across the BBC to make the changes real.

This will include revisiting the BBC's technology strategy, simpler processes, more prioritisation and rewarding people for excellent leadership.

A balance has to be struck between investment to boost the quality of today's services and investment in services of the future.

But the savings mean that by 2008/09 there will be 355 million of fresh investment each year.

JEREMY DEAR, NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS

Jeremy Dear of the National Union of Journalists
We don't believe it is possible for 80% of the staff to do 100% of the work, while still maintaining the standards and quality that the BBC is renowned for.

Last week we were told that it would be "back room" staff - so what is the BBC's excuse today when 1,600 job losses are announced? It is inevitable that quality and standards will suffer, and it puts the BBC in a weaker position to secure the Charter.

As a bottom line, we will oppose any compulsory redundancies.

The BBC has a duty to enter into consultation with staff, but they appear to have already made up their minds.

We will ask that they halt the cuts, re-do their sums as we don't believe they add up, and work with us to find other ways to make savings.

You have to have the staff, otherwise the programmes either won't get made or they won't be up to the standard.

We believe this is the biggest single job cull in BBC history - and it is no way to prepare the BBC for the future.

We've made the BBC aware that we will fight this any way we can because we really care about the protecting the BBC and staff.

The governors have approved these plans without speaking to any member of staff who actually make the programmes.

They have taken the word of the director general that everything will be all right.

At long last people will know the details, but there will be anger and bewilderment from those who will wonder how does it make the BBC stronger.



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