9.30am: Broadcasting unions will sit down with BBC bosses next week to try to reduce the number of people set to be axed from the World Service staff.
Broadcasting unions will sit down with BBC bosses next week to try to reduce the number of people set to be axed from the World Service staff.

Around 230 staff are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the World Service's plans to set up a£19m-a-year channel Arabic TV channel, its first TV station. In turn, the Foreign and Commonwealth-Office-funded service believes 200 jobs will be created.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Bectu are due to meet BBC management on 8 November for talks, which are likely to include discussions as to whether foreign language services can be shrunk, rather than closed down completely.

The World Service has pledged to abide by an Acas agreement that there will be no compulsory redundancies until December 2006. With the 10 affected foreign language services set to close by March 2006, this means staff may receive nine months' redundancy pay.

But despite the possibility of generous package, there is still anger at the move. One worker in the English language newsroom said: "Younger people are probably fine with it, since they can go back to their home countries and find work. It's the older workers who are worried. They have children in school here and can't easily move. How can they find another job?"

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