Reed starts talks with NUJ over plans to slash 56 jobs

Flight Intl: four posts may go

Human resources directors at Reed Business Information met NUJ representatives this week to discuss redundancy options open to staff.

The move follows the news that the company is to shed 56 jobs and two magazines as a result of difficult trading conditions.

In the past month IPC Media and Reed’s major rival, United Business Media, have announced plans to axe more than 300 jobs between them.

A total of 39 jobs will be lost across Flight International magazine and Reed’s computer group, which comprises Computer Weekly, its website CW3 60 and Microscope magazine.

Computer title Freelance Informer will close and IT Today will be turned into a Computer Weekly supplement. Other redundancies are believed to affect the hairdressing titles.

NUJ officials are still trying to pin down the exact number of journalists involved but there are believed to be around 10 editorial job losses.

Patric Cunnane, FoC at Reed, said the company had agreed to provide a list of current vacancies. "We are making renewed efforts to make sure people stay with the company and don’t take the cheque and leave. We see the option of redundancies as the very last option," he told Press Gazette.

"There has been a spate of redundancies at Reed this year and we are keen to get some assurances about the future, as it is creating tremendous uncertainty for our members."

Kieran Daly, group editor of the aviation titles, said the magazines had remained robust, despite an initial downturn before the 11 September attacks, but that recruitment revenue had plummeted afterwards.

Flight International, which is expected to lose four posts, has been hit because it relies heavily on advertising from aircraft manufacturers.

"Airlines have been cancelling or deferring orders for aircraft, so many manufacturers have had huge redundancies, especially in the US," said Daly.

Reed’s monthly Airline Business is believed to have performed better because it is not so exposed to the troubled manufacturers’ market. Daly also suggested its Air Transport Intelligence website had stood up better as a result of its extensive coverage of 11 September.

Insiders hope the market will improve in the new year once they have had time to review their budgets.

Keith Jones, RBI’s chief executive, said in a statement: "The difficult trading we have been facing since the spring has worsened in some markets in recent months and there is clearly no prospect of a short-term recovery. We deeply regret the need to implement job cuts but we have to respond to market conditions"

By Ruth Addicott

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