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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
BBC unions call for strike ballot
Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson has fleshed out plans for job cuts
Unions at the BBC are to ballot members for strike action over plans to cut up to 4,000 posts at the corporation.

The decision came after a three-hour meeting between unions and the BBC's director general, Mark Thompson.

Bectu, Amicus and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the BBC had refused to meet their demand that there should be no compulsory redundancies.

The BBC said it regretted the decision by the unions, who also warned that strikes could hit live programmes.

Three years

The BBC said any action which affected services would penalise licence payers.

Luke Crawley, of Bectu, said the job losses represented the "most damaging cuts" in the BBC's history. He said under the plans up to 20% of staff jobs were being sold, outsourced or made redundant.

Mr Crawley added: "Our members want a BBC that works well, but Thompson's plans could stop some parts working at all."

Mr Thompson has announced proposals to axe the posts over the next three years.

'Substantial' cuts

The corporation said the director general had explained the three-year plan would put over 350 million back into programmes and most of the job losses would be achieved through staff turnover and voluntary redundancies, but it could not rule out compulsory redundancies.

The unions are not convinced there is a need for such large cuts and had demanded a three-month consultation period and a bar on compulsory redundancies.

The BBC first announced plans for substantial job cuts in December, and expanded on them last month.

Under the plans, more than 2,000 jobs are to go in programme making departments, such as news, drama and factual and learning, and another 1,700 would be cut in support areas.




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