Guardian News & Media plans to cut more than 100 extra staff as part of further cost saving measures aimed at reducing its current “unsustainable” losses.
In a series of briefings at GNM’s Kings Place headquarters this afternoon Tim Brooks, managing director of GNM, told staff from The Observer and The Guardian that redundancies would be made across editorial and commercial departments.
The briefings come a day after it was confirmed by GNM that a pared down version of The Observer newspaper would be relaunched in the New Year without several of its current magazines and supplements.
Press Gazette understands that during one of the briefings, GNM editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger told staff the publisher was looking to make this latest round of cuts through voluntary means but whatever cuts weren’t covered by voluntary redundancy would be found in other ways.
He said that he anticipated between eight per cent and ten per cent of the existing 780-odd editorial staff would leave.
Members of staff in the commercial department are expected to learn their fate within a month, editorial changes are expected to take longer to complete because cuts are likely to be made through voluntary redundancies and redeployment.
However, editorial staff fear compulsory redundancies. NUJ officials have previously stated that the union would ballot on possible strike should the company try to force redundancies on its members.
GNM reopened its voluntary redundancy scheme, which is set to run until the end of the year, in September as Brooks warned staff that losses were running at a rate of £100,000 per day and staffing levels would have to be reviewed as a result.
This latest round, the result of a root and branch review of GNM’s operation, will be in addition previous cuts.
The publisher said earlier this year that in addition to cuts in commercial teams it wanted to slim GNM’s editorial department from 850 staff to fewer than 800.
Press Gazette understands around 80 staff have so far left the commercial department and around 70 have since gone from editorial as part of £20m cuts to GNM’s editorial and commercial budget that have already been implemented.
Brooks told staff the latest round of cuts would be in addition to the savings already made as revenues were worse-than-anticipated and had fallen by £33m
The Guardian’s Thursday Technology print section will also cease publication at the end of the year as a cost saving measure.
The revamped Observer will hit newsstands with four regular sections and supplements – news, sport, the Review and Observer Magazine. It will also give away the Observer Food Monthly magazine each month.
Business and cash supplements will be dropped and instead those sections will be included in the main news section. The Escape section will be dropped and instead included in a new travel section of Observer magazine.
Three of The Observer’s rotating monthly magazine supplements are also to be dropped: Observer Sport, Woman and Music Monthly.
The changes at the Observer will save £2m, the briefings were told. A core of editorial staff would continue to work solely for the Observer, but other journalists are expected to be integrated into the editorial teams that work across all GNM papers and websites.