BBC staff told: 'No-one is forcing you to stay'

The National Union of Journalists has accused BBC director-general Mark Thompson of showing ‘complete and utter contempt’for redundancy-threatened staff after telling them that ‘no-one is forcing you to stay”.

During a meeting with BBC staff in Belfast on Friday Thompson reportedly told staff: ‘If you’re really that unhappy, if you think that you can’t do your best work here then leave – no-one is forcing you to stay.”

Thompson’s comments came a week after the BBC announced 2,000 jobs could go at the corporation including more than 650 jobs in news.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said Thompson had showed ‘just how little he values all the hard-working loyal and talented staff who are the lifeblood of the BBC’s work”.

She added: ‘It’s BBC staff who are standing up for quality journalism and for the future of the corporation they are passionate about serving.

‘For Mark Thompson to turn his ire on our members, at a time when the BBC is under unprecedented attack and needs strong leadership, calls into question his own position. Perhaps it’s about time he moved on – after all, no-one’s forcing him to stay.’

Responding to the criticism, a spokesperson for the BBC said: “The Director General was in Belfast on Friday as part of his ongoing meetings with staff to discuss the Delivering Quality First process. At times it was a forthright debate with a robust exchange of views but useful for all involved.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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