BBC journalism job cuts: New strike vote agreed

BBC journalists are set to start a strike ballot this week amid reports that hundreds of journalism jobs at the corporation are under threat.

The NUJ has confirmed that ballot papers could be sent to members as early as Friday and that the outcome of the vote will be announced in around a month’s time.

The union claimed 100 editorial jobs face the axe at BBC World Service and that there are further 30 posts under threat in the BBC’s Television Current Affairs department and 43 journalism jobs at risk in BBC News.

NUJ general secretary-elect Michelle Stanistreet said: ‘We have worked hard to try to resolve job losses at the corporation however we have reached a point where the BBC is targeting our members for compulsory redundancy.

‘We will continue at local and national level to do everything we can to resolve the outstanding cases. We must be ready to take action to defend the jobs of journalists and to protect the vital public services they provide.’

A BBC News spokesman said: ‘We believe that industrial action is not necessary and that dialogue is the best way to resolve this issue.’

A report in The Guardian last week claimed that up to 1,000 jobs could go at BBC News offices across the UK and overseas – and that the majority of these would be reporting jobs.

The paper said that BBC News director Helen Boaden had put forward proposals to cut its budget by 20 per cent, or £89m, by 2016-17.

The BBC spokesman added: ‘We are not going to get drawn into a running commentary – no decisions have been taken and therefore these claims remain speculation.

‘Any decisions coming out of the process would be subject to approval by the BBC Trust.”

Earlier this year it was reported that 650 out of 2,400 World Service jobs would be cut to save £46m a year out of its £272m a year budget, but on Sunday the new BBC Trust chairman Lord Chris Patten indicated he may roll back some of the planned cuts to the World Service.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: “I hope that with the Foreign Secretary we can successfully mitigate the effects of some of the decisions which were taken.

‘I’ll be talking to him reasonably soon. I know he regards the World Service as an important part of this country’s soft power and I’m sure that with goodwill and without megaphones we’ll be able to sort it out.”

Last October, BBC bosses negotiated a new funding deal with the Coalition Government that saw the corporation take a 16 per cent funding cut in real terms, which amounts to around £340m a year.

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