BBC1's current affairs programme Panorama could be involved in industrial action after corporation journalists voted yesterday for a ballot over compulsory redundancies.
According to The Guardian, five journalists who work on Panorama and other programmes made by the BBC News current affairs department were handed redundancy notices just before Christmas, as part of a plan to make 31 posts redundant in the TV current affairs department – a 22% cut in full-time staff.
The decision for the staff cuts was announced last February, and some people have taken voluntary redundancy before the five people were given their notice. The BBC plans to hire people on short-term contracts as replacement for the job losses.
The newspaper reports that an emergency meeting was called yesterday by the National Union of Journalists over what is believed to be the first case of the BBC's current affairs staff being threatened with compulsory job cuts.
The Guardian quotes an NUJ memo sent to BBC News staff in London as saying: "Under its own local job cuts programme, the TV current affairs department of news at White City has now handed redundancy notices to five members of staff.
"If management gets their way, the redundancies will take effect from the start of March 2012 and the members will be sacked as of that date,"
A BBC spokesman is quoted as saying: "A number of current affairs post closures were announced in February last year. We won't be commenting on the process whilst it's under way."