Thursday, 27 January 2011


IFJ affiliates in the UK and Spain are mobilising their members to start the fight to save jobs at the BBC World Service and the Spanish group PRISA. Unions in both countries are bearing the brunt of the massive crisis that is hitting the economy.

In Britain, the BBC announced that 650 jobs will go, including 480 posts over the next 12 months. Among them 68 jobs will be lost at the World Service’s English-language service where five foreign language services – Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, the Caribbean and Portuguese services for Africa – will be axed and some shortwave broadcasts reduced. Overseas posts will also be cut. The BBC World Service employs more than 2,000 people in 45 countries.

These cuts are the direct result of theBritish government’s decision at the last comprehensive spending review unveiled last October, to reduce its subsidy by 16%. It is estimated that this will lead to the loss of 30 million listeners worldwide.

In Spain the PRISA group, publisher of El Pais, announced restructuring plans that will lead to an 18% scaling back of its workforce and the potential loss of 2500 jobs. Last year the group has already shut down its 24-hour news channel CNN+.

The NUJ kicked off its campaign of opposition to the cuts by mounting a rally yesterday outside Bush House in London, the HQ of the World Service. I will be joining the NUJ in writing to the chairs of the House of CommonsForeign Affairs Committee and of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, asking them to review the cuts at the BBC. Earlier announcements of job cuts hit the BBC online and the monitoring services


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