Cringe-inducing stuff from the Indy today. Quite how they still don’t know the Onion is a satirical website is beyond Guido, yet they have managed to run a ‘quote’ from a supposed CNN boss on Miley Cyrus’ dancing, clearly the only story of the day:
Finally addressed some hours later:
As the Indy prepare to go out on strike at 4pm, the Lebedevs are not the most popular Russians in Kensington right now. Though the strike has been cut by one hour as a sign of goodwill for further negotiations, insiders at the paper are not holding their punches. The anger is aimed way above the editor:
“I think this strike is a vote of confidence for some sort of survival plan, for the editor and against the way people above him at senior management have gone about forcing people out of their jobs without even considering voluntary redundancies.
Others are more candid, accusing Evegeny of only seeing the Indy as “a seat at the top table… it gets you into Downing Street and to w**key parties”. There is particular anger at the way forced redundancies were put on staff before even asking anyone if they wanted to quit…
It’s official: strike action will go ahead at the Indy over editorial cuts.
Bosses won’t be too worried though – the action is planned for two hours on Friday afternoon.
Just enough time for a three bottle lunch…
The Indy HR department’s discussions with the NUJ aren’t going too well then. They now anticipate compulsory redundancies in “single figures” rather than the 27 previously feared, though they say the NUJ’s strike action makes it clear that they have “exhausted all options” and “through exhaustive discussions already it is clear that no extension of consultation will change this”. They add “our responsibility is to the staff and the newspaper and it is absolutely critical that we do not mislead anyone”. A message one insider suggests would come across better if it were not written in Comic Sans…
“The Chapel moves to ballot for industrial action up to, and including a strike”…
As you all know, every company in our industry is being hit by two forces.
One is a recession which has hit advertising hard. The other is the growth of digital media.
All of you are aware too, that for the past three and more years, the Lebedev family has poured many tens of millions into their newspapers.
While we continue to enjoy their support, we must do what we can to save money and to make our business ever more efficient.
Unfortunately, this means that we must lose more jobs at Independent Print Limited. We envisage this will be 27, including regular casual workers.
On this occasion, these will be compulsory, on the current redundancy terms.
Other areas of our business are expanding.
On independent.co.uk, we will be adding 9 new positions, rising to 20 within 6 months. On London Live, our new TV station, we will be creating 60 jobs over the coming year.
It is possible that some of those leaving us may be able to switch to the website or TV channel. I must stress, though, that this number is likely to be small because of the different skill-sets they require.
Last Friday, I presented a proposal to the Board of Independent Print Limited, outlining how I believe, with these cuts, The Independent can be sustained in print form.
We will be producing a new-look Independent. It will be redesigned to make more of our strengths in analysis, commentary and longer reads. It will be very different from i and will be unique in the UK newspaper marketplace.
Together with The Independent on Sunday and i-paper, we will still report news, of course, and break exclusive stories – as we have done repeatedly in the past fortnight alone.
But across Home and Foreign News, as well as Business, Sport, Arts and Features, our focus will shift.
It is important to state that the Board of Independent Print Limited, and the Lebedev family, strongly support my proposal for the new-look paper.
They recognise that The Independent and Independent on Sunday have successfully merged to create a 7-day operation.
They recognise that The Independent is our flagship title, hugely respected both at home and abroad.
They recognise that it feeds both the i newspaper and independent.co.uk
But they also have a stark financial reality to consider.
I personally understand how painful the threat of redundancy can be.
Those at risk of redundancy will be contacted this afternoon. I hope that the process we are embarking on can be completed as soon as possible.
There is a real and purposeful future for all the Independent titles, but only if they operate within the budget which the Board of Independent Print Limited has provided.
We talked about taking questions at this point, but out of respect for those affected we will be contacting them first.
Anyone else who has questions please come to see me, Chris, Sean or Doug in our offices this afternoon.