BBC Director-General Mark Thompson pulled out of a visit to Birmingham at short notice – sparking an angry reaction from staff.
The corporation supremo was labelled a “coward” for failing to turn up at the BBC’s Birmingham headquarters at the Mailbox to address employees over controversial changes and job losses.
But the BBC claimed Friday’s event had only been earmarked as a “potential date” for a visit by Mr Thompson, who is in the eye of a nationwide storm over cutbacks.
A BBC employee said: “We all think it’s a total disgrace. People here are livid.
"Either Mr Thompson is a coward or he doesn’t think we are worth a visit to explain this crazy decision to move programming out of our Second City.”
Earlier this month more than 100 BBC workers took to the streets to protest outside Birmingham’s Central Library against sweeping cuts to programme-making in the city.
Staff are angry that the Factual Unit, which makes the likes of Gardeners’ World and The Hairy Bikers, is to move to Bristol, with jobs also going from radio, current affairs and news operations.
In total the head count in Birmingham will fall from 600 to about 450 while nationally, the corporation is set to shed 2,000 jobs by 2016.
The BBC has claimed that about 60 per cent of Birmingham staff affected will be offered jobs in Bristol.
But National Union of Journalists representative Michele Paduano said at the recent city centre protest: “It’s a disgrace. BBC Birmingham provided some of the most well-known and best-loved programmes in the country.”
A BBC spokeswoman said: “November 25 was identified as a potential date for a staff event but this was never confirmed and was subsequently cancelled.
"Several staff events involving senior managers have taken place in recent weeks and there will be more in the New Year.”