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Overwhelming vote for strike action at Guardian and Observer

5 February 2013

Journalists on the Guardian and Observer have voted overwhelmingly for strike action over compulsory redundancies.

More than 80 per cent (81.6%) voted for strike action over the redundancies and to defend existing terms and conditions at the two titles.

Guardian News & Media said it needed to cut 100 editorial posts as part of a plan to make £7million savings to the annual budget. The NUJ, in negotiation with the management, has so far halved that target through agreed voluntary redundancies. The union has also asked for those identified as under threat to be put on a redeployment register.

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ deputy general secretary, said:

"We are still in talks at Acas, the conciliation service, and hope for a negotiated settlement. The editor Alan Rusbridger and the Guardian management must now reflect on the strength of the vote and what is says in terms of their staff's confidence in them. The union has suggested a whole range of cost-cutting measures – including cuts to executive pay, job sharing and more part-time working. The management has taken a serious risk of jeopardising the culture within the Guardian by trying to force through compulsory redundancies."

Brian Williams, Guardian FoC, said:

"The result speaks for itself. We will use this strong message from the chapel as the basis for establishing the future stability of the company, taking into account the concerns of the papers' journalists."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"This overwhelming vote for action is not just about saving jobs, it is about journalists who are proud of the quality of news gathering and writing in their papers and do not want to put it at peril."

At the end of last year the GN&M outlined its targets for job cuts – including 22 from Guardian news (including the business, media, society, education and consumer desks); 15 from culture, features, Saturday Guardian and Guardian Weekly; eight from sport; three from comment; eight from the Observer and six from pictures.

Tags: Guardian, Observer, newspapers, strike, cuts