BBC journalists threatened with further redundancies

By Caitlin Pike

Journalists at the BBC face a new round of widespread job cuts in
the second year of director general Mark Thompson’s plan to save £355m
by 2008.

In a scheduled meeting between joint unions and BBC management on
Tuesday – designed to further negotiate compulsory redundancies arising
from the first year of Thompson’s cuts – head of radio news Stephen
Mitchell announced the BBC’s wish list of journalists’

posts to be cut across both radio and television news in year two of Thompson’s strategy.

The
proposals include three reporters being lost from the Today programme
and one reporter to be axed from World at One and PM. Radio Five Live
is to lose seven specialist reporters, including those covering
consumer affairs, home affairs, entertainment, health and science.

BBC
Radio planning will be reorganised, with Five Live and the Asian
Network losing their own specific planning team. The BBC admitted that
this would result in less distinctive news on the four radio stations –
Five Live, Asian Network, Radio 2 and Radio 4.

Aside from radio,
29 posts in news gathering, 12 jobs in new media and interactive, and
five jobs in TV news planning are also proposed to be cut.

BBC
head of news Peter Horrocks sent an email to staff on Tuesday saying
that compulsory redundancies with the new round of proposed job cuts
could not be ruled out. Up to 200 staff are still facing compulsory
redundancy from the first year of job cuts.

NUJ representatives
at Tuesday’s meeting said they would not discuss the proposed job cuts
for year two until they had completed negotiations with management over
the first round of cuts.

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