Independent Print Ltd has announced the new appointments as a union dispute over proposed job cuts rumbles on

Credit: Tim Ireland/PA

Independent Print Ltd (IPL) has announced department heads for its new merged Independent and Evening Standard business and sports desks, with Independent staff to lead sport and Standard staff to lead business.

The new head of business for the Independent, Independent on Sunday, i, and Evening Standard will be James Ashton, who is currently city editor of the Standard. Ashton's current deputy on the Standard City desk will become deputy business editor for the four titles.

The head of sport will be Neil Robinson, currently sports editor of the Independent on Sunday. His deputy will be Matt Gatward, the current sports editor of the Independent.

The controversial department merger, which will be operational by mid-December according to this morning's announcement, puts up to 20 jobs at risk across the titles' business, sport, travel and editorial production sections.

The National Union of Journaists has notified IPL of its intention to ballot nearly 200 union members at the publisher over strike action if the proposals for cuts remain as they are. The ballot is due to start on 21 November and continue until 2 December.

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