BBC bosses have upset many of their staff, thousands of whom are facing redundancy, by accepting huge bonuses of up to 25 peer cent of their salaries.

Mark Thompson the BBC director-general turned down his own bonus explaining that "it just wouldn't have felt right". Nevertheless other senior executives went ahead and accepted the bonus package causing outrage amongst trade union leaders.

Gerry Morrissey, assistant general secretary of broadcasting workers union BECTU, said:

"People should not be rewarded for putting thousands of people out of work. We will ask the culture cecretary Tessa Jowell to investigate what the justification is for paying such huge bonuses at a time when the BBC is supposed to be cutting back."

20 per cent of the BBCs workforce faces redundancy over the next three years, in order to cut costs and make the BBC a more economically efficient company.

The bonuses row, which is being described as a slap in the face to workers, is set to spread and executives are coming under increasing pressure to reject their bonuses.