News International is to axe nearly 100 journalists, or around 7 per cent of its editorial workforce, across its four national titles, it has been confirmed. The group is under pressure to make Â£30 million in cost savings.
Yesterday, it was confirmed at staff meetings that 30 editorial posts would go at The Times and 20 on the News of the World.
The total number of jobs to go will be “less than 100” out of a total News International editorial staff of nearly 1,400 across the The Sun, News of the World, The Times and Sunday Times in London and their Scottish editions.
The company said it would prefer to carry out the redundancies on a voluntary basis though compulsory cuts have not been ruled out.
It is understood that the job cuts will not affect staff on Times Online, the website of The Times and Sunday Times; a similar principle may be applied on the websites of the two Wapping red-tops. Details of which departments on the newspapers have to make cuts have yet to be determined.
“As part of the consultation process, we will seek to avoid or minimise losses, suggest other ways of making savings and look for other opportunities for anyone affected by this announcement,” said Chris Holmes, general secretary of the News International Staff Association. Trades unions, such as the NUJ, are not recognised by management at Wapping.
“We will also look to minimise the consequences of any dismissals as well as arguing for the best possible packages for those who have to leave,” Holmes said.
Mr Holmes said there were also proposed reductions in casual shifts in several areas and that Nisa would also discuss these with management.
The cuts follow the launch of thelondonpaper, the freebie distributed around the capital’s Tube system, and the introduction of the Â£2 cover price on the Sunday Times, which has had a damaging effect on the circulation of what was once a reliable profit-maker.
Today, Press Gazette reported an insider as saying: “They have not really explained why there are going ahead with the cuts but it’s obvious that thelondonpaper has put a squeeze on things – there is no doubt it has been a disaster in terms of revenue. It’s likely that they are going to expand online.
“They did it in a civilised manner and they are offering very good terms,” he added.