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October 2, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:39am

Guardian redundancy letters sent with insufficient postage

By Charlotte Tobitt

Guardian staff have spent a week waiting for redundancy letters only to be told they were sent with insufficient postage – and that they might be asked to pay the difference and then claim it back.

The newspaper publisher is currently carrying out a consultation process as it seeks to cut its workforce by about 12%.

The Covid-19 pandemic took £25m off its forecast revenues for the next year, the publisher said in July.

Affected staff were expecting to receive letters on Monday outlining their individual offers for voluntary redundancy, but nothing arrived.

Eventually on Thursday staff were told they would be emailed instead.

Then on Friday morning staff were told the voluntary redundancy letters did not have sufficient postage on them.

Those involved have received letters saying they owed £1.50 to the Post Office.

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The Guardian told staff they could choose to either expense the cost or leave it and wait for the offer by email instead.

The application deadline for voluntary redundancy was extended as a result to Monday 19 October.

The Guardian has said there are plans in the making for a “new and exciting” Saturday supplement that will cover features, culture, books and lifestyle journalism.

Staff have been told to expect around 180 job cuts in total, with around 70 of those in editorial and the majority of the rest in advertising, Guardian Jobs, marketing and Guardian Live.

In editorial, the most affected areas are expected to be sports and the Saturday supplements, with the The Weekend, Review, The Guide, and Travel sections all set for closure.

Last month the newspaper’s National Union of Journalists chapel passed a motion saying staff were “unconvinced” by the strategy, calling the large-scale redundancies a “panicked reaction” to Covid-19 that would be unnecessary if it used more of the £954m Scott Trust Endowment Fund.

They asked the company to “to look again at the need to impose such swingeing cuts so quickly during the pandemic”.

The motion also said commercial staff put at risk had not been offered voluntary redundancy, meaning the company was “forcing loyal employees out of a job in the midst of a pandemic”, and that the imposition of compulsory redundancies “undermines” its claims to be a good employer.

Guardian News and Media currently has 1,495 staff of whom 869 work in editorial and production.

Picture: Graeme Robertson

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