Packed chapel meeting sees massive support from Guardian journalists for strike ballot

Guardian and Observer journalists voted yesterday to press ahead with a planned strike ballot as the threat of compulsory redundancies continued to loom.

Negotiators are hopeful that more volunteers will come forward for redundancy from a total which currently stands at around 30.

But management has said that 100 editorial staff need to go in order make proposed savings of £7m a year from the editorial budget.

Other proposals on the table to avoid compulsory redundancies include a voluntary pay cut of 5 per cent for staff, the ending of paid sabbaticals and stopping the nine-day fortnight worked by many.

At least 90 per cent of the 650 Guardian and Observer editorial staff are believed to be members of the NUJ. The union is already well advanced on the process of verifying member details ahead of the strike ballot.

In the year to March 2012 Guardian News and Media made an operating loss of £44.2m on turnover of £196.2m.

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said yesterday: “Today’s vote was not a strike ballot - it was a vote of GNM's NUJ members which instructed NUJ officers to implement a ballot for industrial action.

"As we’ve previously stated, as part of our five year transformation plan we need to save £7million from the editorial budget, and we continue to work closely with the NUJ to discuss how the necessary savings can be achieved. During this time we want to work constructively with the union to achieve these savings, and there are a number of options on the table.  

"We of course hope to avoid any action and we will not be making any further comment at this stage."

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