The Guardian cuts 180 roles after drawing on job retention scheme
THE Guardian is to cut 180 jobs including 70 in editorial despite using the Government’s job retention scheme.
The publisher warned that pressures on advertising, its recruitment website, live events and print circulation have created “an unsustainable financial outlook”. The coronavirus pandemic has put The Guardian on course for a budget shortfall of “well over” £25m, it said.
In an internal memo, Katharine Viner, the editor and Annette Thomas, the chief executive, who only joined in March, said the cost-cutting was required despite an earlier decision to furlough 100 staff. The company has also reduced marketing and travel budgets. “Even after taking these measures into account though, we face unsustainable annual losses in future years unless we take decisive action,” they said. “It is clear that we will need to make significant cost savings, and change the way we work.”
Ms Viner said last month that The
Guardian had drawn on taxpayer money to save jobs. “That’s what the furlough scheme is for, it’s to keep people employed so I think it’s reasonable to follow it,” she said at the time.
The job cuts represent more than one in 10 staff and come after a threeyear turnaround plan was declared complete last year when The Guardian broke even for the first time in two decades, according to a non-standard accounting measure. That milestone was reached after hundreds of voluntary redundancies, a retreat from an ambitious international expansion and the decision to scrap bespoke presses and outsource printing in a standard tabloid format.
Guardian Media Group’s results for the year to March, also published yesterday, showed flat turnover of £224m but growing operating losses. Losses on the ebitda measure before exceptional items more than doubled to £9.3m.
Cash burn, adjusted for one-offs, rose slightly to £29m.
Meanwhile, BBC News will cut another 70 jobs on top of the 450 announced earlier this year due to the increased financial pressure on the Corporation from the pandemic.