Journalists at the BBC World Service and the corporation’s current affairs department are to hold a referendum over the salary of director general Mark Thompson.
Members of the National Union of Journalists will be balloted on whether they wish to back a call for Thompson to reduce his to around £200,000 – five times the average salary of BBC news and production staff.
Thompson total remuneration package in 2008/2009 was £834,000 – more than 20 times the average salary.
The ballot paper will say ask journalists to deplore: “the inflated salaries being paid to Mark Thompson and other top managers of the BBC and urge them to reduce them considerably – so that the annual salary and bonus paid to the director general or any other BBC manager never exceeds five times the median salary of full-time staff [earning pay] bands two to 11.”
A spokesman for the World Service chapel said opposition to cuts in journalism resources, as laid out in BBC management proposals, was linked to anger over senior management salaries and performance.
The spokesman said: “We cannot accept any reduction in jobs until senior management salaries are linked to the median salary of BBC staff.
“We have had enough of cuts that destroy the breadth, depth and quality of our journalism.”