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INM seeks more staff redundancies

Irish media group is offering voluntary scheme for editorial and commercial staff

In common with many news organisations, INM has made deep cuts to its editorial operations in recent years. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Independent News & Media is believed to be opening up a voluntary redundancy scheme for editorial and commercial staff.

INM declined to comment on Monday, but it is understood the scheme will offer staff about two weeks pay per year of service on top of their statutory entitlement of two weeks per year plus one additional week.

It is thought that the company has not yet finalised the scale of the headcount reduction and may wait to see what level of interest arises for the voluntary scheme before settling on the final number of departures.

Staff at INM have feared redundancies were on the way ever since Allan Marshall, a nonexecutive director of the company, was retained over the summer to assess newsroom operations with a view to cutting costs.

It was reported that the move, which was approved by INM’s board, met with opposition from some senior editorial figures who believed the operation needs more, not fewer, staff.

INM has spent about €8 million on redundancies over the past three years, according to notes in its annual reports.

The company spent up to €3.3 million on redundancies in 2016, the latest report reveals, as well as close to €1 million in 2015 and about €3.6 million the previous year.

Deep cuts

In common with many news organisations, INM has made deep cuts to its editorial operations in recent years. In 2013-2014 more than 80 staff left while a further 30 departed early in 2015 as it shifted its focus on to its digital operations. Last year it outsourced some of its production to the Press Association and sought about 16 redundancies.

INM chief executive Robert Pitt has repeatedly warned over the past two years that the company would seek to continually manage its cost base by making cuts as necessary.

There have also been significant job losses in its printing operations, including the closure of its Belfast plant in 2015, while cuts are now also expected at its advertising and commercial operations.