BBC Scotland management have been accused of a ‘smoke and mirrors’exercise over job cuts announced at the corporation this week.
The NUJ father of chapel at BBC Scotland, Stephen Law, said the corporation’s argument – that it was creating 22 new jobs to help plug the gap left by the loss of 35 jobs in news and current affairs – did not stand up to scrutiny.
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‘The 22 jobs they are creating will mostly rely on MyLocalNews [the BBC’s local online service] and an expansion of online services. There will be a significant mismatch between the jobs they intend to dispense with and the jobs they intend to create,’said Law.
News and current affairs are to suffer the largest cull in the latest round of job cuts at BBC Scotland. Cuts will be made across three other departments: 24 in radio, 26 in production and 15 in management and support.
The 100 redundancies, which form part of the corporation-wide cuts announced earlier this year, are scheduled to be made by April 2009.
BBC Scotland has yet to complete the process under the previous Value for Money cuts from 2004, which will see another 14 staff lose their jobs by next April. A total of 210 jobs are to be axed in BBC Scotland by 2012, which needs to make three per cent annual savings until then.
Quality of life
Unions are currently in talks with the corporation over the proposed cuts. Law said that BBC Scotland was cutting its budget by £7m, but not its staff’s workload.
He said proposals include changing staff rotas so that staff working 10 hours, four days a week will be asked to work eight hours, five days a week: ‘The people they are intending to do this [with] start work at 4am. The difference between doing four and five earlies is a lot. It’s a quality of life issue.’
The BBC said savings will be offset by an expected 130 new jobs for Scotland-only programme initiatives, bringing net post losses to 80. Further jobs are expected from the growth in network production. In radio, there will be three new posts and one new post in television.
BBC Scotland is now looking for voluntary redundancies.