Independent News and Media looks to make 90 job cuts

Independent News and Media has announced 90 job cuts across The Independent and The Independent on Sunday as part of a major restructuring programme to save £10m.

The redundancies are to be across all areas but the company said it expected that the majority will come from editorial.

INM said that the cutbacks, to be implemented by early 2009, were prompted by a downturn in advertising revenue.

It plans for ‘greater integration’between the two papers, with a “more efficient use of technology” enabling the papers to ‘streamline their production processes’to save on staff numbers.

The company is also investigating the possibility of out-sourcing some areas of operation.

INM managing director Simon Kelner said: “As a management team, we would have been irresponsible had we not reacted to the economic conditions affecting every media business in the world by looking at our cost base. These changes will be instrumental in helping to secure the future of these great newspapers.”

UK chief executive Ivan Fallon added: “This restructuring will produce a significantly lower cost base, which will allow our titles to weather whatever storms the next few years will bring.

‘By taking full advantage of the latest editorial systems, sharing resources across our group, down-sizing our existing premises and looking at out-sourcing some of our activities, we can safeguard the future of the Independent titles.”

The National Union Journalists said it would meet management at INM on Thursday to discuss the proposals.

NUJ head of publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said: “The scale of today’s announcement will have come as a massive shock to our members at the Independent.

‘Journalists’ confidence in management at the moment is shaky at best, and far below what we would expect when entering into negotiations over any major restructuring. The public boardroom disputes have done little to reassure staff or readers concerned about the future of the titles.

‘We need to see clear guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies. We will also be looking for plans from management as to how the health and safety of staff who remain will be protected.

“Our members already complain about their workloads and, as the company attempts to produce quality papers on just three quarters of the staff, the company has a duty of care to protect its employees from work related stress and we will hold them to account for their responsibility.”

The Independent is one of a number of national newspapers reducing staff numbers in the face of the impending recession.

The Daily Express and Sunday Express are axing about 80 sub-editing staff and replacing them with a editorial system called Woodwing, which allows reporters to write straight onto the page.

The Daily Mail and General Trust is expected to announce job cuts when it reports its end-of-year results on Thursday.

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