BBC Television Centre to be Sold Off

Staff threaten to strike under threat of losing 2,500 jobs at the Beeb

Strikes loom at Wood Lane

The BBC Television Centre, nicknamed by staff the 'Doughnut' will be sold.

Local MP questions BBC's neighbourliness

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The BBC is to sell Television Centre in west London and axe 2,500 jobs, the broadcaster has said.

News, TV production and factual programmes will be hardest hit by the cuts. The BBC is one of Hammersmith and Fulham's biggest employers.

The BBC is to create some new jobs and to offer re-deployment to some of its staff so that the net loss of jobs will be 1,800.

However, Broadcasting Union Bectu has threatened to strike ballot unless the BBC agrees not to send out letters seeking volunteers for redundancy.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and broadcasting workers' union Bectu warned the corporation it must hold "meaningful" negotiations over the "savage" cuts.

The unions said they are confident their members will back industrial action - which would take live programmes off the air, hitting news, sport and other sectors.

The NUJ and Bectu said 3,000 letters had already been prepared, bearing Friday's date and asking for volunteers.

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of Bectu, said members are "feeling extremely angry and believe the BBC is jumping the gun on redundancies before they have even negotiated with us".

A strike would be the first since a walkout in 2005, also over job cuts, which caused huge disruption to BBC programmes.

The sale of the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane will herald the end of nearly 50 years of television history in White City.

The sale of the huge studios complex, which has been the home of hundreds of shows from Top of the Pops to Blue Peter, is likely to raise hundreds of millions of pounds.

"We have approved in principle the sale of Television Centre and requested a more detailed strategy on the BBC's property portfolio," the trust said in a statement released today.

The aim is for it to be sold off in 2013 once a number of BBC departments have been moved, including sport and children's TV relocating north to Salford.

It is then likely to be demolished for housing or given a makeover for commercial use.

 

October 19, 2007