The recruitment freeze, which is set to run at least until the end of September, also includes a reduction on freelance or holiday cover.
A memo sent out to staff included a stipulation that any employee to leave in the three-month period from July to September would not be replaced.
RBI father of chapel Patric Cunane said the NUJ had compiled a dossier, which includes a list of positions not being filled and points out a lack of freelance cover in some areas. He said that, in some cases, people had not been able to take holidays because of the workload.
The union is also representing a full-time member of staff who claims the company has proposed to replace her with a freelance. The RBI staffer is understood to be part of a small editorial team that the company sought to disband, retaining the freelance on a rolling contract.
‘We have been opposing that on the grounds of unfair selection,’said Cunane. ‘We have gone from the position of trying to stop the person being removed from a particular publication to trying to extend their period of employment with the company to find a suitable alternative position.”
The redundancy is the result of the title moving online, which has meant less work, Cunane said.
‘We accept that there was a reduction in work, but even the company accepts it was unusual not to retain the employee over the freelance worker.
‘The key thing here is that we are always concerned about the casualisation of the workforce and in this case it’s fairly blatant that that’s what has happened.”