100 former News of the World staff axed - Press Gazette

100 former News of the World staff axed

News International appears to have effectively sacked around 100 former News of the World staff – those who did not take voluntary redundancy and who have not found other jobs in the company.

When the News of the World closure was announced three months ago – parent company News Corp said that the ‘vast majority’of the paper’s staff would be found jobs elsewhere in the company. They were placed on three months gardening leave while other employment options were explored, and they were also offered enhanced redundancy terms under a voluntary ‘early leaver’scheme which was generous by industry standards.

According to News International, the News of the World had 250 staff – comprising salaried employees and full-time casuals.

Chief executive Tom Mockridge said in a statement yesterday that 81 staff chose to take voluntary redundancy under the enhanced ‘early leaver’option. And he said that 65 former NoW staff had been redeployed elsewhere in the company. The vast majority of the balance of the 250 now face compulsory redundancy.

Press Gazette understands that the 65 include: 11 who are working on a new digital-only project, 20 who have been found jobs on The Sun and the 30 staff on the News of the World’s Fabulous magazine, which is now published with The Sun on Saturdays. Former News of the World news editor James Mellor has gone to the Sunday Times as deputy news editor and former investigations editor Mazher Mahmood has also gone to the Sunday Times in a senior role. Former News of the World deputy editor Victoria Newton is now in charge of the Saturday edition of The Sun.

A number of individuals, under 10, are understood to be still in consultation over jobs. News International was unable to say how many of the 65 who have been found jobs are journalists

National Union of Journalists national press organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said: “I am not aware of any of the journalists we have been speaking to being redeployed. We are representing a number who are being made redundant and there is a lot of disappointment amongst them about the fact that promises to find redeployment amounted to nothing as far as journalists are concerned.

“I’ve had one case where a young graduate trainee who still had year to run on their contract has been made redundant. In the second year they were supposed to work elsewhere in the group to gain more experience.

‘We have got the impression that if you were a journalist on the News of the World you are not wanted at News International.”

3.30pm update: Fitzpatrick has now told Press Gazette that two journalists he has been advising have been given jobs on The Sun.

Mockridge said that of those former News of the World staff who applied for jobs, two thirds were ‘made an offer”. However Press Gazette understands that not all those offers were accepted.

Mockridge said that The Sun’s regional editions had been strengthened with the addition of new staff.

He said: ‘We have worked closely with NISA [the News International Staff Association] to ensure that staff were provided with as much support as possible. Training and outplacement advisory services have been taken up by a number of employees and all former NOTW staff were offered enhanced redundancy terms.”

In the same statement yesterday, Mockridge announced the details of the promised charity donation made from the proceeds of the News of the World’s final editon.

The final News of the World sold 3.8m copies and made £2.8m for charity.

This is to distributed equally among: Barnardo’s, Forces Children’s Trust and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, who each receive £933,000. Five charities in Ireland are splitting the profits from the Irish sale.

Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette