Unions: Strike Action 'Inevitable' After 'Radical' BBC Cuts

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First Posted: 06/10/11 20:52 Updated: 06/10/11 20:56   PA

Unions have warned strike action is inevitable if the BBC presses ahead with plans to "radically" reshape the corporation.

The BBC has unveiled a blueprint which includes selling off buildings, showing more repeats and shedding around 2,000 jobs by 2016.

The Delivering Quality First programme includes savings of £670 million a year by 2016/17 on top of £30 million of savings generated by exceeding targets for its current efficiency programme.

It includes "a small reduction" in new programmes on BBC One, which will be replaced by repeats, and fewer chat shows and panel shows on BBC Two.

Around 1,000 more staff will move to Media City in Salford which will become the permanent home of BBC Three.

Director General Mark Thompson said the plan would lead to "a smaller and radically reshaped BBC, yet still able to command the talent, technology and resources it needs to deliver the best broadcasting in the world".

But Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of technicians' union Bectu, said the programme should be called Destroying Quality First.

Mr Morrissey accused Mr Thompson of doing the Government's "dirty work" by cutting spending and jobs, accusing the corporation of "salami slicing".

The National Union of Journalists also warned of industrial action. General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said it was a "watershed moment in the BBC's history".

She said: "You cannot reduce budgets by 20% and pretend the BBC will still be able to be a world-class broadcaster. Quality journalism and programming is inevitably going to be diluted. If the BBC presses ahead with these changes, strike action across the corporation seems inevitable."

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Filed by Michael Rundle  |