BBC 'to cut World Service jobs'

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Union leaders claim that the BBC is set to announce hundreds of job losses in its World Service

Union leaders claim that the BBC is set to announce hundreds of job losses in its World Service following news of 360 online job cuts.

The National Union of Journalists will stage a demonstration outside the World Service head office in central London on Wednesday, when it believes the announcement will be made.

The union has written to the chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee Richard Ottaway and the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee John Whittingdale, calling on them to review thoroughly the BBC’s plans for “drastic cuts” in the service.

Journalists said that BBC Director of Global News Peter Horrocks is due to announce his plans for the reorganisation of the World Service, which has an audience of 241 million across radio, television and online.

“If the details we have obtained are accurate, we believe Mr Horrocks’ plan will severely damage the national interest of the UK.” the journalists said.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “These ferocious cuts to a valued national service are ultimately the responsibility of the coalition Government, whose policies are destroying quality public services in the UK.”

The corporation said on Monday it plans to cut its online budget by 25% from £137 million to £103 million by 2013/14.

Director general Mark Thompson acknowledged the changes would be “painful”.

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