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The BBC can expect to take some heavy flack after admitting in its annual report that top execs trousered up to 25 per cent of their salaries in performance-related bonuses last year. The revelation comes after the Corporation announced it would slash 20 per cent of its workforce over the next three years in an exercise designed to cut costs and release revenue for new programming.

To his credit, director general Mark Thompson waived his "right" to a bonus, as the BBC describes the privilege. He did, however, recommend that other at the top of the publicly-funded pyramid pocket their hard-earned sweeteners.

Highlights of the litany of greed include:

  • BBC director of television Jana Bennett: Salary £255,000; bonus £63,000.
  • The BBC's chief operating officer, John Smith: Salary £287,000; bonus £72,000.
  • Deputy director general, Mark Byford: Salary £351,000; bonus £92,000.

Broadcasting unions have slammed the payments as "corporate greed". The National Union of Journalists said the bonuses were a "slap in the face for the 5,000 BBC workers who faced job uncertainty".

Gerry Morrissey, assistant general secretary of broadcasting workers union Bectu, said the execs should have followed Mr Thompson's example, adding: "We feel that the BBC management are already getting the rate for the job so where is the justification for huge bonuses? People should not be rewarded for putting thousands of people out of work."

The Beeb's governors, meanwhile, announced that in future bonuses would be cut from a maximum 30 per cent to a modest 10 per cent of an executive's salary.

The BBC's annual report is available here (PDF). Despite Corporation high-flyers getting their snouts firmly in the trough, it reports a deficit of £188m - down £61m on the previous year.

All of which points to a financially healthy BBC within a couple of years - just as soon as they have culled a few thousand staff, aborted some online content and ensured that management will have to scrape by on a fraction of their previous bonuses. Good show. ®

Bootnote

Oh yeah, and while we're in a Beeb-bashing mood, we've asked you before to get rid of that bloody ridiculous 3D weather map, so jump to it before we write a very strongly-worded letter of complaint to Anne Robinson or whoever which begins: "Dear BBC. Why, why, why, why, why, why oh why....?"

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