Compulsory redundancies now unlikely at BBC News

By Caitlin Pike

Journalists at BBC News are unlikely to face compulsory redundancy
when the planned 400 job cuts, announced by director general Mark
Thompson in March, take place because a high number of volunteers for
redundancy have come forward.

A BBC News insider told Press Gazette that 359 BBC News staff had offered to take voluntary redundancy.

“The
359 volunteers combined with a number of empty positions that haven’t
been filled since the cuts were announced mean it is unlikely that
anyone will face forced redundancy.”

The volunteers came forward
after the BBC conducted a trawl of staff over the summer while it was
in negotiations with the NUJ – an arrangement made with the union in
June to stave off industrial action and reach a solution on the cuts
that was acceptable to both the BBC and the NUJ.

NUJ broadcasting
organiser Paul McLaughlin said: “We’re still in the middle of
divisional discussions at the BBC, but it’s clear that significant
numbers of staff want to leave the BBC voluntarily across all
departments. Two main issues remain – compulsory redundancies and the
workload for staff who remain at the BBC.

“We have reason to be
optimistic that the BBC will not have to make compulsory redundancies.
The issue of workload for remaining staff still needs to be addressed
and with most members working flat out before cuts have been made, they
remain to be convinced that this will work.”

The BBC declined to
comment on the number of volunteers for redundancy in BBC News and
whether there would be any compulsory redundancies.

The insider
also told Press Gazette that an October deadline for the end of
divisional discussions at the corporation had been pushed back to the
end of January because the NUJ and BBC still had much to negotiate.

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