13 Liquid News staff facing axe

The NUJ officially went into industrial dispute with the BBC on Wednesday after 13 journalists on BBC Three’s Liquid News were issued with redundancy notices.

In a letter dated 2 April, the journalists were warned that they would be made compulsorily redundant if alternative positions are not found for them by 2 September.

The NUJ, which opposes compulsorily redundancies, had warned of a possible dispute if the BBC issued the redundancy notices to its members.

The union believes alternative positions can be found within the next five months and the notices are therefore unnecessary.

An initial 50 BBC Three journalists were at risk, including those working on the Seven O’Clock News and the hourly 60 Seconds bulletins. Thirtyseven either took voluntary redundancy or relocated within the BBC.

The BBC announced in November that Liquid News would be scrapped. A spokesman for Liquid News said: “The programme ends on 1 April and sadly there will be post closures. We realise it’s a difficult time for staff and some have taken voluntary redundancy.

We’re also doing our best to relocate as many people as possible into other BBC departments.”

The weekday 7pm news is being revamped and fromMay will double its airtime to 30 minutes. It will incorporate elements of Liquid News with an entertainment slot, plus special in-depth reports. Some journalists have expressed scepticism at the idea of producing a longer programme with comparatively fewer staff.

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