The Independent‘s sports editor, Matt Tench, is reported to be among around 34 staff at the daily title and its Sunday counterpart who have been accepted for voluntary redundacy. The handling of the job cuts has prompted the titles’ union chapel to opt for a strike ballot.
Independent News Media proposed before Christmas that 90 jobs should go with around 60 cuts expected to come from editorial staff.
According to the National Union of Journalists, around 50 have applied for voluntary redundancy but only about 34 of those were accepted. The NUJ fears that more than 30 journalists on the two national titles could face compulsory redundancy.
The job cuts are expected to be finalised by the end of this month, but the move, coupled with a transfer of offices to a building share with Associated Newspapers in Kensington, has angered staff, following previous rounds of job cuts in the past couple of years.
Tench, who worked on the paper’s sports desk at its launch in 1986 before spells elsewhere, including as editor of Observer Sport Monthly, was reported by the London Evening Standard to be among several senior staff who have agreed to take redundancy.
The sports desk at the papers have lost several key staff in the past year or so, including the long-serving sports editor of the Independent on Sunday, Neil Morton, and daily athletics correspondent Mike Rowbottom.
“The key issues for the chapel were compulsory redundancy and the company’s refusal to accept all the volunteers,” Jeremy Dear, the NUJ general secretary told MediaGuardian.co.uk. “There are between 15 and 17 that requested voluntary redundancy but were refused.
“People who want to go will be forced to stay and staff wishing to stay will be forced to leave. This is a recipe for widespread demoralisation and makes no business sense,” Dear added.
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