The BBC is set to cap the redundancy payments for senior executives at £150,000 after stinging criticism of 'obscene' settlements, including George Entwistle's £450,000 agreement after just 54 days in the post of director general.
The NUJ welcomed the moves after campaigns from the union's representatives at the BBC to have payments capped. Concerns were also raised by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Maragaret Hodge, which noted severance payments to 10 senior managers at a total cost of more than £4m.
The largest payment was £949,000 to the BBC's former deputy director general Mark Byford, while the BBC's former chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, received a package of £670,000.
Director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, told staff in a statement: "Since I arrived at the BBC at the beginning of the month, a key concern from people I have met has been the large amount of severance pay, including redundancy, the BBC has paid to former managers. Today I am proposing capping these payments at £150,000.
"I believe we have to address this because the settlements of the past can no longer be justified."
Anger has been expressed by the NUJ over the high redundancy payments while staff face up to 2,000 job cuts as part of the BBC's Delivering Quality First (DQF) programme. Easter TV schedules were disrupted last month after a strike over the plans and claims of institutionalised bullying. Earlier this month, the NUJ called on Tony Hall to prevent job cuts as he took up the role of director general.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "This is a welcome development. These obscene payments were being paid while other members of the BBC were being forced out of their jobs.
"The so-called Delivering Quality First programme will involve the loss of 2,000 jobs across the BBC - you can't make cuts of that size without seriously undermining quality journalism."
The NUJ reiterated its call for a six-month moratorium for discussions with BBC management on how to manage cuts and impact on staff and services.
"This is a genuine offer to discuss how they can best be made without having a detrimental impact on the quality of programmes and without adding to the workload and stress levels of our members," added Stanistreet.
"At present we have a situation where redundancies are being made in one part of the organisation while vacancies are being advertised in another."
The BBC said consultations with individuals and recognised trade unions will continue before proposals are finalised.