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08/12/2004

Unions pledge to fight 'savage' cuts proposed by BBC Director-General

The three unions representing BBC staff have launched a campaign against the "savage" redundancies and budget cuts which were announced by Director-General Mark Thomson yesterday.
At a crisis meeting in London, shortly after the BBC went public over 3,000 planned job losses, Bectu, the NUJ, and Amicus representatives voted to stand together in defence of members working for the Corporation.
Condemning the plan for cuts drafted by Mark Thompson, delegates from the three unions pledged to support each other in a battle to protect BBC staff, as well as the BBC's historic obligation to provide high-quality public service broadcasting.
Delegates at the meeting agreed that disruptive action would be co-ordinated across members of all three unions if any section was threatened with compulsory redundancies.
A day of action is planned in early 2005, when the unions will try to persuade politicians and opinion-formers that the BBC will undermine its public service broadcasting role if it goes ahead with the cuts.
BBC staff were still digesting the details of Mark Thompson's cutbacks while union representatives met to decide their response. Many members were angry that they had no clear idea about their futures, despite several months of press speculation, and were left no wiser by the BBC's eventual announcement of job cuts.
Staff targeted for rapid job cuts or out-sourcing - 2,500 professional services staff and another 400 in factual programmes – have received no clear statement from management about whom might be picked for redundancy.
Union negotiators are due to meet BBC management on Thursday December 9 to begin talks about the cuts.
(GB)
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