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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
BBC to trigger redundancy search
Mark Thompson
Director general Mark Thompson revealed his plans last week
The BBC will begin a search for redundancy volunteers next month after a deal was reached with trade unions representing its employees.

Formal talks will start on 5 November over the BBC's plan to cut 2,500 posts to bridge a 2 billion funding gap.

Then there will be a two-week trawl to find those willing to take redundancy, after which further talks will be held.

But the National Union of Journalists and media union Bectu have warned they will ballot for a strike if these fail.

Director general Mark Thompson revealed his six-year plan for the corporation's future last week.

It involved closing 2,500 posts, but with a number of new jobs being created, reducing the number of redundancies to approximately 1,800.

The BBC also said it would make 10% fewer TV shows by 2013, merge its television, radio and online newsrooms, and sell its Television Centre complex in west London.

Strike threat

After Tuesday's seven-hour session of talks, which also involved the Unite union, the BBC agreed to provide the unions with a full breakdown of its finances, and to health-and-safety assessments which would check the stress levels of staff affected by the cuts.

BBC Television Centre
Television Centre is being sold as part of the plans
It said it would step up efforts to redeploy staff affected by the cutbacks, agreeing that 10% of new posts would be earmarked for current staff.

And meetings will take place to discuss the BBC's plans to withdraw allowances for new staff who work unpredictable or unsociable hours, along with changes to its pension provision.

Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey called the agreement a "significant step forward", but added: "We remain fully committed to opposing any compulsory redundancies and any significant changes to unsociable pay allowances and pension arrangements."

His NUJ counterpart, Jeremy Dear, added that any attempt to "impose" cuts would result in a strike ballot.

The BBC said: "Our staff have told us that they want us to move speedily to minimise any period of uncertainty about jobs, which we all appreciate is very stressful.

"Last night's agreement is the first step in bringing clarity to individuals. We wish to continue to work closely with the trade unions to achieve the best possible result for our staff."



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