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BBC announces 10 percent cut in workforce

The director general of the British Broadcasting Corp. announced last week that 2900 people would lose their jobs as part of a cost-cutting initiative designed to save more than $600 million annually.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson told 27,000 BBC employees via an Internet meeting that the cost cutting would continue after the New Year with budget reductions of 15 percent in the company’s news, broadcast and new media division. As many as 6000 BBC employees could lose their jobs.

The cost restructuring is seen as an important step needed to position the BBC for re-licensing by the government in 2007. The British government funds the BBC through a licensing fee television viewers must pay. The fee, which has grown unpopular as free television alternatives have met with success, is scheduled to increase to $240 in the spring.

The National Union of Journalist, one of three unions at the BBC, said it would take action if necessary to save jobs and the BBC’s news, current affairs and factual output if necessary.