Financial Times to axe 20 editorial jobs

A focus from its managers on “efficiency and productivity” just as its revenues from adverts are falling will eject about 80 staff from their jobs at the Financial Times.

In an editorial on its website, the FT admitted that, like other UK newspaper groups, its advertising revenues have declined as the economic downturn has worsened.

Chief executive John Ridding has already begun negotiations with 80 employees about possible redundancies, of which 20 will come in the editorial department.

Although these job losses will affect just 4 per cent of the paper’s editorial workforce, the NUJ has reportedly begun talks to oppose the threat of compulsory redundancies.

Its defence comes after FT management claimed during their last job cull they would seek compulsory redundancies unless they were sufficient voluntary departures.

Breaking the news of the latest cuts to staff, Mr Ridding said that the FT, owned by publishing group Pearson, had to focus on our “efficiency and productivity.”

In his internal email, seen by the Guardian, staff were told that “sustaining our financial strength is essential to maintaining the quality of our journals.”

It added that management “understand that change isn’t easy, especially when it affects colleagues and friends who we’ve worked with closely.”

However, it maintained that the job cuts, which all affected staff have been informed of, were “necessary to build on our success.”

Some of that building will begin when the FT goes live with a digital edition of its How To Spend It - currently a weekly, offline magazine aimed at the super-rich.

The launch, part of the FT’s increasing focus on the internet, is expected to be promoted from FT.com, which will reach a reported 1million users this month.

Insiders at the Pink Paper say there has never been a better raison d’étre for the FT, perhaps best explained by its recently updated tagline – ‘We live in Financial Times.’

Reflecting on the job cuts, the paper pointed out that even when the non-editorial redundancies are included, its headcount will only reduce by 5 per cent.

Meanwhile, at one of the FT’s most traditional rivals - the Daily Telegraph – better news has emerged for full-time, permanent journalists, according to the NUJ.

Last week, its officials signed a deal with the paper’s management guaranteeing pay rises for the next three years for journalists at the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Telegraph.co.uk

The annual rises will be 2 percent, 1.5 percent, and 2.5 percent – with the last year open to re-negotiation if the inflation rate is more than 3.5 or less than 1.5 percent.

The good news for Telegraph hacks comes after their freelance colleagues were dismissed or made into employees last July, following the paper’s decision to scrap its casual contracts.

 

15th January 2009

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