The NUJ has said the merger of sports and business desks at the Independent and Evening Standard threatens compulsory redundancies

Credit: Tim Ireland/PA

The National Union of journalists has warned it will ballot for industrial action at the Independent unless it can be assured that compulsory redundancies will be avoided as part of potential job cuts reportedly being considered.

Earlier this month publisher Independent Print Ltd said the Independent and London Evening Standard were
"exploring ways to see how integration between them in a limited way can benefit all the papers owned by the Lebedevs", in a bid to "reduce costs".

It was widely reported that the company's plans were to
merge the business and sports editorial desks and that a month-long consultation was launched at the beginning of November as a result. While the company cannot offer any further details on the potential impact on jobs at this stage, the NUJ claims up to 20 posts are at risk.

The union has now called on the company to protect staff from the risk of compulsory redundancy and "conduct the consultation in a genuine effort to reach agreement that protects jobs and the editorial quality and independence of the papers".

"The editorial staff is already cut to the bone, after several rounds of redundancies," NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added in a release.

"The NUJ will defend its members' jobs and we will support the chapel in a strike ballot for industrial action, unless the management withdraws its threat of compulsory redundancies."

The Independent declined to comment further.

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