Warnings of 'significant' job cuts at the BBC

'Significant' numbers of news staff could be cut at the BBC. Photo / Getty Images
'Significant' numbers of news staff could be cut at the BBC. Photo / Getty Images

BBC staff have been warned that a "significant" number of redundancies are likely to be made in the corporation's news department.

Director of news and current affairs, James Harding, said in an email to staff that the division had to make savings of "tens of millions of pounds" as part of the so-called Delivering Quality First programme.

The former editor of The Times, who joined the BBC last August, said he would share his proposals in July, having taken a "long, hard look" at the budgets over the past couple of months.

"I am afraid that there is no escaping the fact that there are likely to be a significant number of redundancies - most of our costs are tied up in people so there is limited scope for other big savings elsewhere," he said.

There has been speculation that between 500-600 jobs could be cut.

A BBC spokesman said they are working to deliver savings of £800 million (A$1.46 billion) a year by 2016/17 and that there are difficult decisions ahead.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said NUJ members are already gearing up to ballot for industrial action over what the BBC has tried to pass off as a pay offer.

"Cutting 500 jobs in areas of news that are badly over-stretched, where staff are already suffering unacceptably high levels of stress and pressure and in a working environment where bullying has been rife is wholly unacceptable and will inevitably damage the quality of journalism and programming," she said.

"If senior salaries were capped at 150,000 - massive wages by anyone's reckoning, and more than enough for the prime minister - an immediate and annual saving of 20 million would be made, money that could go straight into quality programming, the one thing that licence fee payers actually care about."

- AAP

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