GNM managing director warns staff level will be reviewed

The managing director of Guardian News & Media has warned that staffing levels have to be reviewed as part of further cost saving measures as current losses were unsustainable.

Losses for Guardian News and Media are now running at a rate of £100,000 per day, Tim Brooks warned staff in an internal memo.

In the memo, published on Guardian.co.uk yesterday, he appeared to be preparing the ground for further redundancies when he said: “We are looking at everything – literally everything – that we do, to see how we can economise, and we will do whatever we can to keep the impact on staff to a minimum. However, because the biggest portion of our costs is people’s salaries, we have to review staffing levels.”

Earlier this year, GNM said it was looking to cut 50 of its 850 editorial staff by 2010 as it looked to make a saving of more than £10m in its editorial department.

In the year to the end of end of March – Guardian Media Group reported a pre-tax loss of £89.9m and GNM made an operating loss of £36.8m.

GMG has admitted that it has not ruled out closing The Observer as part of a range of cost saving options being considered under a current review.

This has prompted public campaigns to save the title by Press Gazette and the National Union of Journalists. A public meeting is being held on Monday, 21 September, from 7pm at the Friends Meetings House in London to air concerns about The Observer’s future.

Brooks said in his memo: “It is important everyone digests the current position, and the nature of the challenges facing GNM. Overcoming these challenges will require our collective efforts, and as ever I welcome any thoughts or suggestions you may have.

“This is an unsettling and testing time for everybody, but the fact remains that we are – contrary to some reports by our competitors – very well placed compared to many of our peers. Like all media companies (and many others in the wider economy) we have to make hard choices, but we have a range of advantages our competitors do not, and provided we take the necessary steps, we can be confident about our future. We will get through these difficult times; our unique brand of journalism will survive and flourish.”

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