Lesson in 'harsh realties' for BBC talent

BBC ‘talent’are to meet with management in the run-up to the announcement on job cuts next week, according to an insider at the corporation.

Around 100 top names from the BBC will be asked to attend a briefing on what one insider called ‘the harsh realities of the new world’as the corporation braces itself for a jobs cull which could total more than 2,000.

Big names such as Jonathan Ross, and BBC News anchors such as Jeremy Paxman and Emily Maitlis, will be asked to attend – though their jobs or pay are not thought to be at risk in the latest round of cuts expected to be announced by director general Mark Thompson.

The BBC is poised to cut at least 12 per cent of its workforce, with the brunt of redundancies falling in factual programming.

Thompson is expected to present plans to cut costs to the Trust on 17 October which, if approved, will be announced to staff the following day. The Trust wants the corporation to make three per cent cuts during each of the next five years to save £2bn.

‘Despondency’

The cuts could mean between 500 and 600 redundancies within BBC News, focused on news output rather than newsgathering – saving foreign correspondents and bureaux, but at the expense of assistant editors. One BBC News source said morale with the corporation was now ‘pretty dire”. ‘People are going to get phoned up after the announcement and told if it’s their job that’s gone, so there’s a lot of despondency.”

Strike action is now looking likely at the corporation, according to BBC sources.

Paul McLaughlin, broadcasting organiser of the NUJ said: ‘Our members are committed to quality of jobs and output at the BBC and we will take all necessary steps, including strike action, to protect that.”

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