ITN to freeze pay and trim 29 jobs

Friday, November 20 2009, 13:48 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

ITN will freeze the pay of all employees and slash 29 jobs next year as part of a major restructure to bring the firm back into profit.

The news provider posted a pre-tax loss of 3 million for the first half of 2009 and is also struggling to manage a spiralling pension deficit. An extensive cost-cutting scheme has already made headway over the past few months, but the firm is not expected to return to profitability until next year, reports The Guardian.

Despite 29 posts being cut from the ITN operation, redeployment plans could reduce the actual job losses to around 15. A voluntary redundancy scheme is now in operation and will remain open until December 4. All staff pay will be frozen in 2010.

ITN's chief executive John Hardie discussed the new measures with staff yesterday, including extensive restructure plans for the business and a new pension scheme.

The firm intends to close its defined-benefit final salary pension scheme and implement a multi-year plan to trim the pension deficit, estimated at around 40m.

Under the restructure, ITN will reform into three major divisions: Firstly, ITN Productions will handle all non-news TV and online content, including the ITN On, ITN Factual and ITN Consulting operations.

Secondly, ITN Source will take responsibility for the firm's archives and daily content from ITN International. The final division will be ITN Consulting and Ventures.

"The measures we have announced are designed to ensure the long-term future of the business, move the company back to profitability, safeguard employment and position the group for growth," said an ITN spokeswoman.

"We remain ambitious for the future and we are confident that these actions will get us back on a firm financial footing."

ITN is 40% owned by ITV, with United Business Media, the Daily Mail & General Trust and Thomson Reuters all holding 20% each.