Staff braced for thousands of job cuts at Thomson Reuters

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The Independent Online

Several thousand jobs are expected to be cut at Thomson Reuters in the coming weeks, after the £8.7bn merger of the two news organisations to create the world's largest financial information provider.

An email sent out to all 50,000 global staff this week confirms that the company will be outlining the precise details of the proposed headcount reductions over the next few weeks. The cuts are not related to external economic factors but are an anticipated part of the merger process, according to the company.

"It is standard procedure following a merger not to retain duplicative positions – Thomson Reuters has followed this principle beginning at the top of the organisation, for example we do not have two chief financial officers or two head of human resources," says a briefing document sent out to the company's managers after the email to staff from Devin Wenig, the chief operating officer.

"We did not determine a centralised headcount target – each department within the organisation has set its own targets, based on financial goals and business plans, and we have set these savings goals based on the level of efficiency at which we expect a company like ours to operate," the document says.

Thomson Reuters has not yet provided any specific information about the numbers involved, but the National Union of Journalists is predicting job losses as high as 10 per cent, or 5,000 staff. While some of the cuts will affect editorial staff, the majority are likely to be from the markets divisions, which provide real-time financial data.

"We have made every attempt possible to deliver savings and eliminate duplication by cancelling open posts, by moving people within the new organisation to fill critical roles, and by managing the underlying attrition rate of the company, so that the actual number of redundancies is held to a minimum," says Thomson Reuters.

There is no fixed timescale for the redundancy process because of the number of countries, and therefore legal environments, in which the group operates. "We are committed to fulfilling obligations with our various collective bodies, such as works councils and unions, and will do so in accordance with local legal requirements, which vary from country to country," says the company.

The deal to merge was given the go-ahead by regulators in February. Tom Glocer, the chief executive of Reuters who runs the combined group, warned when the deal was first agreed last May that there would probably be job cuts as part of plans to strip $500m (£260m) from annual costs. But he also said the deal was done on the basis of future growth, rather than cost savings, and included scope for job creation.