The BBC is to axe some 415 jobs in its news department as cost-cutting measures continue, the corporation's director of news James Harding has announced. The movie is part of an effort to save £800 million, following the license free freeze in 2010.

James Harding BBCJames Harding [R] protesting with BBC staff [Getty/Rob Stothard]

Harding has also set out plans to restructure the news division and put the BBC "at the forefront of producing news for the digital age using new technologies."

A total of 195 new posts will be created to fulfil the plan, meaning a reduction of 220 staff overall. 

"It will be a testing time of uncertainty and change," Harding told staff, adding, the "challenge is how to make BBC News even better, despite having less money."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ secretary general, said: "These cuts will further undermine the ability of journalists to deliver quality content. Now they plan to get rid of hundreds of staff - using licence fee payers' money to cover the redundancy pay-outs - and then immediately hire in a load more. You couldn't make it up."

"NUJ members won't allow them to get away with it, and we will fight to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies at the BBC."

Bectu secretary general Gerry Morrissey said: "We will enter into consultation with management and take every step to resolve this matter without compulsory redundancies. We will oppose them by any means necessary, including industrial action."

The NUJ says BBC journalists have seen a 10% pay cut in over the past five years, with more being spent on salaries and perks for managers.