Unions urge BBC to clarify job cuts

The NUJ and Bectu have passed motions demanding the BBC “make a convincing business case” before making 37 jobs redundant from the specialist factual department.

Affected staff felt they were being “railroaded” into deciding whether to take voluntary redundancy, relocation or leave the BBC. A meeting with management is to be held next week.

The broadcaster announced last week that redundancies “mainly at producer level” would account for “less than 5 per cent” of the department’s total staff.

It claimed an increase in programme commissions from the independent sector and its nations and regions division had forced it to make cutbacks.

But a dispute has arisen between the BBC and the unions over how management calculated the job cuts. The NUJ and Bectu are demanding clarification.

Twenty-five jobs out of 111 will be cut in London and 12 in Bristol. But according to the NUJ, in London only 83 are of substantive producer grade while 28 are acting producers.

The union fears the acting producers – many with significant experience at producer level – will be pushed back to assistant producer roles and therefore miss out on redundancy pay.

One senior producer said: “All the acting producers I know have said if they are moved back to assistant producer roles they will leave the BBC.

But they’ll get nothing for it. That’s created a lot of problems.”

By Wale Azeez

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