Journalists working on magazines at United Business Media are to start a period of consultation this week following the announcement the company is to make 200 redundancies.
The job losses at CMP Information, the UK division of UBM’s professional media arm, make up 20 per cent of the workforce.
The company is proposing to cut costs by approximately £10m. The move will affect CMP’s offices at Docklands, Blackfriars and Chiswick in London, at Tonbridge and Sidcup in Kent and Preston in Lancashire.
It is not known how many editorial jobs will be lost but staff fear journalists on the music, farming and travel titles could be vulnerable in the wake of the 11 September attacks and the foot and mouth crisis.
It is understood two magazines will be closed in the music division – Fono and Music Business International. Many staff on the company’s directories will also be hit. Further closures are expected to emerge in the next week as well as redundancies at titles such as Travel Trade Gazette.
Staff will have the option of taking voluntary redundancy but department managers have been told to look for areas where cuts can be made.
One magazine editor said: "Staff are all shocked. This will take some time to sink in. We haven’t got a complete picture yet but it appears all magazines will be hit."
An insider on the farming titles said classified advertising had been hit by the foot and mouth crisis but volumes had since increased thanks to private advertising.
While the redundancies have been blamed largely on the general market downturn and titles reporting a loss, some staff believe they are having to pay for the company’s hefty investment in new media. One journalist said: "What has never been explained is exactly how much UBM’s ventures into the dot.com business cost." CMP Information’s executive director, Tony Keefe, declined to comment on whether there would be a minimum redundancy threshold when questioned by staff at the group’s Docklands offices.
By Jean Morgan