Guardian Media Group (GMG), the publisher of The Guardian and Observer, has initiated a turnaround plan following its recent financial losses. The plan, which is expected to help GMG break even within three years, will see 250 jobs culled. A total of 100 journalists will be affected while the remaining job losses will come from the non-editorial team.
Apart from these, 60 job vacancies at GMG, which includes both commercial and editorial positions, will not be filled. This takes the total job cuts to 310 or about 18% of its total UK workforce. While GMG hopes all these redundancies will be voluntary, editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and chief executive David Pemsel, in a joint email to staff, said compulsory redundancies would be considered only "if necessary".
The email also said the "volatile media environment [had called for an] urgent need for radical action". "Our plan of action has one goal: to secure the journalistic integrity and financial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity." Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary at the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said it would oppose any compulsory redundancies.
Brian Williams, Guardian father of the chapel for the NUJ, said: "We are encouraged by the fact the company is seeking voluntary redundancies and is looking to mitigate potential job losses by finding other cost-cutting measures."
GMG posted an annual operating loss of £58.6m (€75m, $84.79m) for the year ending March 2016. About 50% of the total costs for the GMG are attributed to staff, whose headcount stands at 1,960 globally. The 210 staff employed outside the country are, however, not expected to be part of the latest round of job cuts.
The news follows a tough year for the newspaper industry. They face huge pressure from digital firms such as Google and Facebook, who are the first choice for advertisements. Adding to these woes is the growth of mobile, which makes it even harder for news organisations to make money from print.
While the Independent newspaper is going to be stopped soon, other newspaper groups are understood to be making significant job cuts. "This news, together with the loss of jobs as the Independent newspapers fold, presents a very worrying situation for the future of newspapers," Stanistreet said.