Union says Mark Thompson’s cuts will cause irreparable damage to the best journalism in the world


A meeting of BBC NUJ reps has unanimously agreed to call for a vote of no confidence in Mark Thompson – an unprecedented act against the director general in the corporation’s history.

The wide-ranging cuts to the corporation – including the loss of 2,000 jobs – will cause irreparable damage to the best journalism in the world, dramatically impact on the reputation of the service internationally and will lead to a devastating reduction in public service broadcasting across the UK’s regions and nations.

The NUJ will now be asking its members in the BBC to signal their support of no confidence in Mark Thompson.

General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This shows the depth of anger felt by journalists across the BBC and their outrage at the lack of leadership from the top of the corporation. The BBC’s  future is under attack as a result of the freeze on the licence fee settlement driven through by the Coalition government.

“The director general should be fighting for the BBC, not inflicting cuts in areas that will cause irreparable damage to services and inevitably compromise quality journalism and programming.  “NUJ members are committed to defending jobs and quality journalism at the BBC and we are asking readers, listeners and viewers to join with us in this battle.  And that is why we will be organising the no confidence ballot against Mark Thompson, the architect of this butchery.”

The BBC cuts, as part of the so-called Delivering Quality First agenda, are a direct result of the licence fee settlement. The deal froze the licence fee until 2017 and introduced new funding responsibilities for the BBC including the World Service, S4C, BBC Monitoring, local TV and broadband.  The 20 per cent cut, over five years, is in addition to the 7,000 jobs already lost at the BBC since 2004.

It will mean:

  • For news: Up to 800 jobs to go.
  • For the English regions:  16% savings overall (which equates to £27 million pounds) and 380 jobs.
  • Local radio will need to make 19% savings
  • Online: 11% savings; 18 jobs to go in the regions
  • Audio & Music needs to make 18% savings (£40million) ie  120 to 160 post closures. This covers Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 6Music and the Asian Network.
  • BBC NORTH: Up to 35 post closures.
  • RADIO FIVE LIVE: Savings of £5.6 million; 35 post closures.
  • WALES: Savings of 16%; 110-125 jobs to go.
  • NORTHERN IRELAND: Savings of 15% (£8.7 million). 50 to 70 post closures
  • SCOTLAND: Savings of 16%; 100 to 120 jobs to go.

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