The BBC’s production arm is cutting 300 jobs under restructuring plans, staff are being told.
BBC Studios, which produces programmes including Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who, said changes may mean bringing in staff for fixed periods.
All of its bases are affected, but the biggest impact will be in England – covering jobs including editorial and production management.
The BBC said it had already saved £1.6 billion, mainly through productivity, but more savings needed to be made.
Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the broadcasting union Bectu, said: “We have been expecting today’s announcement because of the poor licence fee settlement and ongoing efficiency savings.
“However, we are worried that this may be the beginning of the cuts as the BBC start the process of putting all its programmes out to competition.”
The BBC said that with the financial challenge it was facing, restructuring would need to happen irrespective of BBC Studios becoming a commercial subsidiary next year.
Mark Linsey, director of BBC Studios, said: “A strong, creative and competitive BBC Studios is crucial to maintaining the BBC’s role as one of the world’s great programme makers – and we are committed to delivering the best content in all our genres.
“These plans will ensure we can compete successfully in the future.”
A statement said BBC Studios will move towards a “flexible model”, more in line with the wider industry, which could see staff hired for fixed times for specific programs.
This will also address “downtime issues” to make sure the business operates as efficiently as possible.
Subject to regulatory approval, BBC Studios will launch as a wholly-owned subsidiary next year.
Mr Morrissey added: “Bectu will be seeking assurances from the BBC that the redundancies are achieved through voluntary means. The redundancies affect factual, drama, comedy, entertainment, events and music.
“The BBC are very clear about what they are making available to the independent production sector, but no such clarity has been given to staff.
“Many of them are facing an uncertain future, especially from April 2017 when it intends to set up BBC Studios as a limited company.
“Bectu believes that the BBC management do not appreciate their programme making staff and risk losing some of their most creative talent .
“BBC staff are committed to public service broadcasting and delivering quality productions for the enjoyment of the licence fee payer.
“Most of the independent sector are committed to shareholders. We will not sit back and allow the BBC to be dismantled.”