In March 2023, Reach announced a cost reduction programme which committed to a 5-6% reduction in the company's operating costs for 2023. This programme is on track to be delivered, says the company.
Furthermore, Reach says it will deliver a 5-6% in-year reduction in the operating costs for 2024 as part of its ongoing planning process.
According to the company, this cost reduction programme is part of its drive to strengthen its position as a leading digital publisher, and mitigate against the backdrop of continuing inflationary pressures that we expect to impact 2024.
As part of this programme, continues Reach, it proposes to reduce its total workforce by an estimated 450 full time roles. The savings will allow the business to deliver on its long term plans, while continuing to invest to drive better customer value, develop online products and grow new audiences, says the company.
Chief Executive Jim Mullen says, “Our industry has a history of change and the future will undoubtedly involve yet more. That's why it's essential we set ourselves up to win, by making our operations suited to an increasingly fast-paced, competitive and customer-focused digital world.”
“Hard work over the last few years means we have established ourselves as a leading digital publisher. But there's more to do and today is about organising our business to deliver against that challenge.”
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “This announcement comes as yet another blow to Reach journalists who have adapted at pace to company demands. Members will be understandably shocked at the scale of redundancies, particularly with previous rounds already withstood in recent months and in the run up to Christmas.
“Reach’s efforts to address economic challenges must not come at the expense of journalists who fear for their job security and the impact of quality journalism only able to thrive with the experience and talent of staff.
“We will be liaising with both our reps and the company to ensure the best possible outcomes for members at this immensely difficult time. Reach must act in the spirit of genuine and meaningful engagement, allowing for a flexible and transparent consultation process that dedicated journalists deserve.”
Below is the text of the internal note from Jim Mullen circulated to staff yesterday:
Today we’re announcing plans to make changes to the way we operate, the way we’re structured and the way we’re meeting the challenges facing our industry.
There’s no hiding from the fact that as part of these changes, we’re proposing to make an estimated 450 roles across the business redundant and withdraw some vacancies.
I understand that change, particularly at this scale and after a year that has already brought many challenges for our business and our people, will be unsettling. Your local leader will speak to you directly as soon as possible to explain the plans in more detail and what they mean for you.
I want to be very clear that these plans are about reducing costs against the backdrop of continuing pressures on the business from the economic environment we’re operating in.
Just as importantly though, they’re about recognising that even with the digital strength and scale we’ve built over the years, we’re in a fight to get our journalism in front of as many people as possible. The changes will help sustain our print products while enabling us to pursue a greater digital audience.
The world of news production and consumption continues to change. As customers’ habits evolve rapidly, so must we, to make sure our brands and our content remain influential and impactful.
What will not change is our commitment to quality journalism. The challenge now is to ensure that it continues to get seen, gets noticed, engages and makes a difference.
Hard work over the last few years means we have established ourselves as a leading digital publisher. We understand much more about our audience, allowing us to drive better customer value. We’ve developed our online products and grown new audiences, including through our successful expansion into the US.
But there’s more to do and today is about organising our business and our cost base to deliver against that challenge.
Our industry has a history of change and the future will undoubtedly involve yet more. That’s why it’s essential we set ourselves up to win, by making our operations suited to an increasingly fast-paced, competitive and customer-focused digital world.
I do not underestimate the impact that this news will have on all of our employees and I want to assure you that we will work through these changes with fairness and integrity. We will work closely with union and employee representatives in a thorough consultation process to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum and end uncertainty for our people as soon as possible.
We want to redeploy people where possible and support our colleagues to have rewarding careers working with us as the business moves forward and we deliver on our plans.
I ask that as we go through this process we show respect for those affected and get behind the changes needed to align our business to the fast-changing landscape we operate in.
I will stay in touch as we work through the changes we need to make. I hope that you’re able to join me as I talk through them in a bit more detail in a livestream later today. After that I will share a form so that you can ask me questions directly.
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