LONDON — The Guardian Media Group has announced plans to cut 250 jobs in a bid to trim operating losses which amounted to 58.6 million pounds or $84 million.
The group has confirmed that the workforce will be reduced by 18 percent, which includes the 250 expected redundancies, as well as an additional 60 editorial and commercial positions which will remain unfilled. One hundred of the proposed job cuts are within the group’s editorial departments.
Plans to create an events space at former train depot Midland Goods Shed, near the company’s Kings Cross headquarters, are also being abandoned.
The company said it hopes the redundancies will be voluntary and will only consider compulsory redundancies if necessary.
“We will oppose any compulsory redundancies. This news, together with the loss of jobs as The Independent newspaper folds, presents a very worrying situation for the future of newspapers,” said Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists secretary.
Last month, The Independent newspaper announced plans to cease publication of all its print editions and to go wholly digital. Its last edition will be published next week.
According to a story published on The Guardian’s Web site, in a joint e-mail to staff, editor in chief Katharine Viner and chief executive officer David Pemsel said that the “volatile media environment” accounts for the need of the proposed measures.
“Our plan of action has one goal: to secure the journalistic integrity and financial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity,” they wrote.
The group has faced a tough last year, given the downturn in print advertising and the slower increase of digital revenues, with Google and Facebook taking the largest share of companies’ digital advertising budgets and mobile proving difficult to monetize for news organizations. Investments in expansion plans across the U.S. and Australia, further increased costs.
As a result, operating costs were up 23 percent reaching 268 million or $384 million, compared to 10 percent in growth revenues.
Apart from the proposed job cuts, the management group will focus on enhancing the Guardian’s membership offer, increase the revenues of its branded content division Guardian labs, improve data management and continue expansion in the U.S. and Australia, as part of a three-year plan which aims to see the group break even.