When publisher Philip Crawley told employees about The Globe and Mail’s plans to implement a metered paywall system, he also told them of plans the newspaper has to cut costs over the summer.
Crawley announced that the newspaper would be seeking volunteers to take furloughs: That is, an unpaid leave for 12 weeks over the summer. As for how many staff would be affected, The Globe’s media reporter Steve Ladurantaye told Twitter:
Globe and Mail wants to shave 10% off staffing costs over the summer with the furloughs, which would mean 80 people at home.— Steve Ladurantaye (@syladurantaye) May 10, 2012
The unpaid leaves are a move that the newspaper and the union alike hope will avoid permanent cuts having to be made. But as the Toronto Star reports:
The company is in negotiations with the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild to look at alternatives to three-month leaves, said Crawley, raising the possibility of flexible work agreements, or shorter leaves if more than 80 people volunteer.
Still, the bottom line is that the paper needs to save money, Crawley said.
“If we don’t reach enough, we’ll have to resort to involuntary layoffs.”
Furloughs aren’t entirely unusual in the newspaper industry. Gannett—the largest newspaper company in the United States—has employees “working three weeks out of four,” the Star quotes Crawley as saying, and The Globe reports that USA Today has had employees take furloughs four times in the last four years.