News International is set to cut its 3,000-strong workforce by 110 positions, chief executive Tom Mockbridge announced today.
He also revealed that so far 89 former News of the World employees have taken up the offer of enhanced redundancy terms and that 23 jobs have been available to those who wish to continue to be employed by the company.
News International has previously pledged that the ‘vast majority’of the 200-plus staff affected by the closure of the News of the World in July will be found alternative employment elsewhere within the group.
Mockbridge said in a memo to staff today: ‘In the period to the end of this financial year, we expect to reduce the News International workforce by 110 staff positions, out of a workforce of approximately 3,000. In addition, there will be discussions with editors about the use of casuals.
“From today we will be announcing changes to our business, starting with the areas first affected, and yesterday we began consultation with our staff association NISA over the proposals.
“Despite this tough news, I have great confidence in NI and our future. We are continuing to invest in new products and quality content to protect our future and better equip us for the changing markets.”
He said it had been “an extremely testing time” for everyone at News International.
In addition to the 23 positions which Mockbridge said have beeen made available to former News of the World staffers he said that the company is developling a digital business which will offer a further 21 jobs.
Mockbridge revealed that the company has been seeking efficiencies for some time and that over the last few months 100 vacancies had been left unfilled.
But he said that the company is investing in a new editorial system, a new customer management system and in marketing and sales to improve the management of subscriptions as well as “web and app” development to give customers more choice about how they receive News International content.
He wrote: ‘These proposals are the result of long-standing plans which I, and the rest of the executive team, believe to be key to ensuring our titles, our brands and our future in print and digital remain an indispensable part of the national and international media.”
It emerged this week that former News of the World investigations editor Mazher Mahmood has now joined the Sunday Times.
Mahmood is the current Press Awards news reporter of the year and was one of the longest-serving journalists on the News of the World.
Meanwhile, a group of former News of the World journalists are understood to be contemplating a class action against News International. The legal action would be based on the premise that the company’s actions have harmed their long-term prospects of being employed in the media again.