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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Unions threaten BBC strike ballot
BBC staff lobby Broadcasting House
Some BBC staff protested about the plans on Wednesday
Broadcasting unions have unanimously voted to ballot for strike action if planned job cuts at the BBC go ahead.

Bectu, NUJ and Unite representatives said plans to close 2,500 posts and make up to 1,800 staff redundant would "undermine quality programming".

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said the BBC "must withdraw these plans, agree a framework for negotiations or face the potential of strike action".

It followed the announcement of plans to reduce the size of the corporation.

BBC TV audiences can expect more repeats and fewer original programmes under plans revealed on Thursday.

BBC director general Mark Thompson
Mr Thompson said the plans involved "difficult choices"

The majority of redundancies will come in news, programme-making and regional centres.

The BBC will also sell off its flagship Television Centre in west London as it attempts to make up a 2bn budget shortfall.

The corporation has plans in place to ask staff to volunteer for redundancy. The unions say they will ballot for industrial action if the BBC refuses to suspend the redundancy exercise.

They have given BBC management until 1200 BST on Friday to respond.

Budget cuts

Earlier on Thursday, BBC director general Mark Thompson said his plan would deliver "a smaller, but fitter, BBC" in the digital age.

Our audiences are changing and we must change with them
Helen Boaden,
director of BBC News

The six-year scheme, called Delivering Creative Future, was prompted by a smaller than expected licence-fee settlement from the government.

Every part of the BBC will be required to make efficiency savings.

The main changes include:

  • Closing 2,500 job posts over the next six years

  • Creating about 1,000 new jobs, many of which will be filled internally

  • Making 10% fewer original TV programmes by 2012/13, focusing on fewer, high-quality shows

  • Establishing an integrated newsroom - merging TV, radio, and online
  • Reducing the size of the BBC's property portfolio by selling BBC Television Centre by 2012/13

  • Scrapping proposals for new activities, including plans for four new local radio stations

    Across TV as a whole, the BBC plans to commission 10% fewer hours, saving 100m every year.

    Despite press speculation, digital channels BBC Three and BBC Four will remain.

    More repeats are fine so long as you show programmes people want to see again
    Paul Tapner, Poole, UK

    Up to 370 people will be made redundant in BBC News by 2012, but the process is expected to be pushed through "as fast as possible".

    Mr Thompson told staff: "BBC News is, and will remain, the cornerstone of the whole organisation. The proportion of content spend that goes to News will go up not down over the coming years."

    Plans for BBC journalism include an enhanced on-demand news, sport and local information for the digital age.

    There are also plans to build content for younger audiences, including a multi-media Radio 1 Newsbeat.


      Responsible for Redundancies
    Vision Factual, children's and entertainment television 640 - 660
    Nations and Regions Regional news and programmes 510 - 550
    News News for TV, radio and new media 355 - 370
    Future Media & Technology Online, mobile, interactive, archives 120 - 130
    Audio and Music Music radio, audio on other platforms 65 - 75
    Sport Sport on TV, radio and new media Up to 20
    Professional Services Marketing, legal, finance etc Up to 75

    Director General Mark Thompson on the cuts


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