Following hot on the heels of Tuesday's leaked email in which Peter Horrocks, the head of BBC television news, admits there is strong support for industrial action against proposed cuts at the BBC among assistant editors, more leaks reach the NUJ.
"Many of the ass[istant] ed[itor]s will be militant as they are under threat themselves. "They also apparently feel that, as the BBC has buckled in the past after strike action, there is a strong rationale for protesting in what they see as a noble cause."
Peter Horrocks, BBC Head of Television News
It seems scarcely believable but our sources tell us that senior news managers have been told that by mid October everyone in news will have to write 200 words justifying why they should keep their jobs. The submissions will be considered by a panel who will then recommend who should go in the latest jobs cull, expected to be announced on 18 October.
I hear there are no plans to let people see the panel directly which will be made up of a number of managers. All the proposed cuts will have to be made by March 2008
"This is essentially a mass application process for everyone in news. Managers are horrified but told to make it happen" my source tells me.
Senior BBC executives appear to have the lost the plot entirely. No wonder leaked memos describe middle managers as 'militant' if they are being expected to preside over a mass cull based on a 200-word application judged by a secret panel. It is an astonishing way to run the world's leading public service broadcaster. The BBC need to stop plotting in secret, come clean on their plans and start negotiations with the unions about how best to defend quality and protect jobs in light of the current financial situation. If not they can be guaranteed it won't only be the assistant editors who get militant.