Compulsory redundancies could be on the cards at Guardian News & Media after it emerged that around 30 editorial staff had volunteered to go – with the publisher looking to cut between 70 and 100 jobs.
In July the company said it was aiming to slash editorial costs by around £7m, when it opened the voluntary redundancy programme for staff.
According to a report on the paper’s website, management has now met with the National Union of Journalists to discuss options on how to meet the target “given the shortfall in the number of redundancies the company was seeking”, with around 30 applications for voluntary redundancy being accepted by the end of September deadline.
Asked if there would now be compulsory redundancies, a spokeswoman said only that "we are working closely with the NUJ to discuss how the necessary savings can be achieved", adding: "We will not be making any further comment at this stage."
NUJ deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick told The Guardian that further meetings were planned but that there was “a mountain to climb”.
He was quoted saying: "There have been less than 35 positive voluntary redundancy applications, much less than the numbers we know [GNM] is seeking. Our position is no different than before. We do not expect this to be resolved by compulsory redundancies."
Uniquely among UK national newspapers, The Guardian has not resorted to compulsory redundancies in recent years. In the past the strong NUJ chapel at the paper has indicated that such a move would lead to industrial action.
Earlier this year the company reported a 15 per cent rise in operating losses to £44.2m for the year to March 2012 and appealed for journalists willing to take voluntary redundancy.
Revenue is understood to have fallen slightly to £196.2m from £198.2m in 2010/2011.
When the results were released editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger insisted that the Guardian and Observer's early focus on digital journalism had paid-off as it was reported that digital revenues were up 16.3 per cent to £45.7m.