Thirty two journalists working across The Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The People have applied to the voluntary redundancy scheme put in place by Trinity Mirror, according to a British Association of Journalists memo.
Trinity Mirror opened the scheme last month as it outlined plans to cut around 200 editorial jobs from titles published by its Mirror Group Newspapers subsidiary.
A bulletin about the redundancies, sent last night by the BAJ to its members, said six of the 32 who had applied for voluntary redundancy had already been approved by management, with two staff members having already left.
Trinity Mirror plans to adopt a multimedia newsroom similar to those introduced at its regional newspaper centres and outsource much of its sub-editing.
The bulletin claimed MGN managers were now in discussions solely with the Press Association over proposals to outsource certain production tasks.
According to the bulletin – which has been seen by Press Gazette – a deal has yet to be signed between to two organisations. However, it says PA had been presented with a schedule of the news and features subbing operations of the three papers and asked to provide a price to run these tasks.
The bulletin claims a proposal exist for PA to supply a dedicated team to work on MGN’s titles to handle “on-the-edition” copy and “overnight material”.
Any agreement signed between MGN and PA, it added, would be subject to final agreement after the conclusion of staff consultations.
A Trinity Mirror spokesman told Press Gazette: “We are currently in consultation with our staff and when we are in a position to make any announcement on proposals we put forward our staff will be the first to know.”
As part of the planned cull of 200 editorial staff, around 60 casuals are expected to be dropped with the remaining 140 cuts coming from the staff – reducing its size by about a quarter from its current level of 554.
The BAJ has been urging its members at MGN to vote in its ballot – which closes next Tuesday – on possible strike action over Trinity Mirror’s proposals.
Representatives from the BAJ are expected to meet management again next Tuesday to discuss the financial case for outsourcing and job losses given that MGN is expected to make an operating profit of around £60m this year.
It’s understood that union reps will ask if costs are being taken out of MGN to compensate for deficiencies elsewhere in Trinity Mirror.
The Press Association declined to comment.