BBC 'set to announce up to 600 redundancies - including 500 in News division'

The BBC is reportedly set to make up to 600 redundancies, including 500 in BBC News, which would represent around 6 per cent of the division's total work force.

Around 80 jobs are also expected to be lost in BBC Radio, according to Forbes.

The job losses are a part of the corporation’s cost-cutting operation, which began three years ago.

Currently employing around 8,000 people (including 5,500 journalists), the BBC News division has already made more than 200 job cuts in that period.

In 2012, 140 redunancies were announced as part of the Delivering Quality First programme.

And then in September last year head of BBC News James Harding said that 75 more journalism jobs would be lost. And he said compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out. At the time Harding also warned that more cuts were to come under Delivering Quality First.

He explained in a letter to staff that the cuts were forced by the Government freezing the BBC licence fee for seven years in 2010 and also making it take responsibility for funding the World Service and other services.

Harding said the 75 redundancies were part of changes aimed at shaving £11m from the 2014-15 BBC News budget. And he warned that further substantial savings will be needed over the following two years.

The latest job cuts, which will see between 475 and 500 jobs lost in BBC News and between 75 and 85 in the radio operation, will be announced next month, according to Forbes.

The National Union of Journalists has yet to formally respond to the alleged job cuts plan, but, responding to the figures, general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "Cutting 500 jobs in areas of news that are badly over-stretched, where staff are already suffering unacceptably high levels of stress and pressure and in a working environment where bullying has been rife is wholly unacceptable and will inevitably damage the quality of journalism and programming."

The union also recently criticised the corporation for the below-inflation 1 per cent pay offer to rise negotiated this year. It was described as “completely unacceptable”.

A BBC spokesman is quoted as saying: "We're working at present to deliver savings of £800m a year by 2016/17 and we have said that there are difficult decisions ahead of us. Whilst we need to make savings, it would be wrong to comment on speculation."

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