The head of BBC news has claimed budget cuts have made it ‘impossible’to avoid compulsory editorial redundancies at the corporation – setting it on a potential collision course with the NUJ.
Yesterday the union announced that its members at the BBC will stage a two-day strike later this month unless it received assurances there would be no further compulsory redundancies.
The NUJ claimed 72 per cent of members had voted to strike and 87 per cent had voted for industrial action short of a strike.
But in an email sent to staff yesterday BBC News director Helen Boaden said that, while the BBC did not know what form the industrial action would take, ‘we do know that the turnout was less than 40 per cent, and only 1248 members of the NUJ (or about 6 per cent of the BBC workforce) voted to take action”.
Due to “significant” budget cuts 387 jobs are being cut across BBC News, the majority of which will be in the World Service and BBC Monitoring
The chances of the corporation avoiding compulsory redundancies appears highly unlikely – it expects only 66 per cent of World Service staff whose posts are closing to take voluntary redundancy or be redeployed, and that figures falls to just 33 per cent per cent in BBC Monitoring.
‘We have done all we can to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies by offering voluntary redundancy and redeploying staff elsewhere,’said Boaden.
While the corporation will try to limit the number of compulsory redundancies, the sheer number of posts under threat meant it was ‘likely to be impossible for us to avoid some compulsory redundancies”.
‘Our financial position means that we are unable to agree to the NUJ’s demands for no compulsory redundancies and delaying taking action now means that we would have to make even more savings in the future, potentially costing more jobs,’said Boaden.
‘I understand that many of you who are NUJ members will face a personal choice about whether or not to take part in this industrial action.
‘Before you make that decision I want to stress that we will continue to do all we can to limit the number of compulsory redundancies though at this point we have no other options available to us.’