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NUJ welcomes decision not to merge BBC News and World News

© bbc

14 July 2016

The NUJ has welcomed the news that the BBC News Channel and BBC World News will remain as separate channels.

Tony Hall, BBC director general, told staff that the News Channel will not be closed or merged, but both channels will have to find significant savings.

The NUJ had argued that the two offer very different services and are important and popular in their own right.

The BBC News Channel has a weekly audience of 8 to 10 million, reaching more than a third of all households. Its figures were further boosted when viewers turned to the channel during the debates and news in the run up to the referendum and beyond.

BBC World News is a commercial entity and funded through advertising; the union argued that a merger would blur the lines between licence fee and profit-making. Staff at World News recently held a 24-hour strike over new rostas which significantly increase their hours.

Sue Harris, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said:

"This is good news and I am pleased the BBC has acknowledged that the two channels provide distinct services. I would also like to thank Martine Croxall and David Campanale, our reps at the News Channel and BBC World, and both chapels for their amazing campaign to save the channel and to all the MPs, peers and other supporters who wrote to the BBC in its defence.
"We are being told it will mean 10 per cent cuts: the union is prepared to discuss with management how savings can be made without reducing the headcount. Staff at both channels are already under a lot of strain because of heavy workloads and the effects of previous cuts."

A statement from the BBC said:

"We did detailed work on the proposal for a new single channel, including a financial model, and listened to what both audiences and BBC staff told us. Although there are strong arguments in favour of running a single news channel, we concluded that this would not be the best way of offering a UK audience and global audiences the news agenda that is most directly relevant to them."

Tags: , broadcasting, bbc, bbc news channel, bbc world news, merger, saved, love it or lose it