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BBC factual teams hit with large-scale job cuts

9 February 2011

BECTU, has today (Wednesday 9 February) accused BBC Vision of a failure to manage its programme-making operation wisely as plans are announced to cut staff in Birmingham and Bristol.

Birmingham Factual faces a dramatic cut in staff numbers as 26 out of a total staff of 50 are put at risk. The plans affect producer/directors, assistant producers and researchers.

Meanwhile in Bristol, staff in the Factual department and in the Natural History Unit will learn today of plans to cut their numbers by 21 out of a total of 68 across the two teams. The grades affected include series producers and producers.

All of the affected staff are part of the BBC’s production arm, BBC Vision.

BBC accused of ‘stifling’ the departments

Commenting on today’s announcements, Anna Murray, national official said:

“BECTU is devastated to learn that such large numbers of talented staff are at risk of redundancy in Bristol and Birmingham.

“Today’s announcements contradict Mark Thompson’s statements only last month on Delivering Quality First. The union will challenge the fact that these announcements come before the promised BBC-wide consultations with staff. These staff in factual are the very people who can help the BBC to meet these objectives.

'Huge versatility'

“These production teams reflect huge versatility and make everything from high-end specialist wildlife programmes to daytime output. Their work reaches right across the BBC audience and more so than other BBC content.

“We believe that those at the top of the BBC have failed to manage the programme-making operation wisely and that staff in Birmingham and Bristol have been denied the opportunity to make a fair share of output. Those who control the channels and commission programmes have been allowed to by-pass in-house expertise; the result is that the development of sites like Birmingham and Bristol has been stifled.”

BECTU representatives will test BBC management on their proposals as the consultations get underway and will do everything possible to retain employment for the maximum number of staff.

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