The threat of strike action has been averted at Guardian News and Media after management agreed not to make compulsory redundancies.
The publisher was seeking to cut 100 editorial staff in order to make annual savings of £7m. But the final tally of voluntary leavers was 58 (the equivalent of 50 full-time positions).
The NUJ said: “The union and management are now committed to a 12-month process of negotiating the changes necessary to bring about further cost reductions and the digital transition at the papers. Any future reductions in staffing levels will be achieved by negotiation.”
NUJ deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick, who has been leading the negotiations for the NUJ, said: “I am pleased that the hard work put in by both sides has achieved an outcome that should create the positive climate necessary to safeguard the future of the titles and at the same time guarantee the quality of content so vital to their success.
“It is essential that the move to a digital model coupled with an affordable print version is based on the highest standards of journalism and a positive engagement with their readers."
Fitzpatrick said that it was the NUJ view (rather than a Guardian management one) that the print edition of The Guardian needs to be more affordable (the paper currently costs £1.40).
The NUJ has agreed to revise the 'house agreement' which could mean changes to shift patterns and benefits – such as paid sabbaticals – are reconsidered.
The current pay freeze will continue until October when salaries may be reviewed, depending on the outcome of other cost-saving moves.
According to the NUJ, GNM will implement changes resulting from a pay audit as of 1 April. GNM is to continue to accept applications for voluntary redundancy.
A Guardian News and Media spokesperson said: "We have reached an agreement today with the NUJ, which is good news for our journalists, our partners and our readers. Working constructively together, we're confident we can all achieve our stated goal – a long-term, sustainable future for the Guardian and its quality journalism."