Independent journalists hold strike ballot over plan to sack 27 editorial staff

Journalists at The Independent are to ballot for industrial action following the shock news this week that there are to be 27 compulsory redundancies at the titles.
 
In a motion passed today, members of the National Union of Journalists at The Independent expressed dismay at the lack of consultation and voiced concern that the cuts would impact on quality at sister titles i and the Evening Standard.
 
An earlier redundancy process concluded in April this year when, following lengthy negotiations with the NUJ, 15 journalists took compulsory redundancy as the Independent and Independent on Sunday newsrooms were merged. It had been proposed that 25 journalists would go.
 
The latest proposed job cuts were revealed yesterday. Press Gazette understands that this time the 27 editorial job cuts will be compulsory, but that a further 20 new website-focused jobs are to be created.
 
According to the NUJ the following motion was passed unanimously at a meeting of the union chapel for the Independent titles today.
 
It said: "The chapel deplores this latest attack on editorial quality and on jobs at the Independent; as well as its inevitable knock-on effect at the other Independent Print Limited titles. 
 
"It has a long-standing and outright opposition to compulsory redundancies and demands that the threat of these be removed. The chapel is also dismayed that no consultation was undertaken before plans for the more than 20 redundancies were announced. The chapel insists on meaningful consultation being held on a collective basis and expresses its deep concern for the future of the Independent Print Limited titles.
 
"The chapel moves to ballot for industrial action up to and including a strike."
 
Press Gazette understands that reporters are expected to bear the brunt of the latest cutbacks as The Independent is relaunched later this year and becomes more based around comment and analysis.
 
The Independent titles reported an operating loss of £16.6m for the year to September 2012 and are said to be on course to lose around £12m in the current year.
 
The job cuts come ahead of the launch of a new TV station for London early next year called London Live which will drawn on the resources of a merged Standard and Independent newsroom.
 
The Independent and i are currently believed to have a combined editorial workforce of around 190. The Lebedev-owned group is currently working on plans to integrate some 300 Independent, Standard and London Live journalists into one combined newsroom.

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