HarperCollins consults over job losses

<p>A merger of Collins Reference with HarperCollins&#39; non-fiction wing could be one outcome of a consultation period launched by the publisher, which could see 5% of jobs made redundant. In an email to staff seen by <em>The Bookseller</em>, c.e.o. Victoria Barnsley said: &quot;We need to be able to respond quickly to constant technological and market changes and that means we need to take a good hard look at the way we work.&quot;</p><p>Barnsley added: &quot;The recession is acting as a catalyst for changes to our organisational structure that we would inevitably have had to make. Change and innovation are vital for our survival, particularly now.&quot; </p><p>In the US HarperCollins has announced that it is to close its Collins division, rolling it into its other divisions.</p><p>Barnsley made the announcement to staff today at the publisher&#39;s offices in Hammersmith. She said: &quot;We have restricted pay increases to those earning under &pound;30k, cut back on hiring and halved our travel and entertainment expenses. But now that the full scale of the recession is becoming clearer, we&rsquo;re going to have to take further action. We will have to look at reducing the size of our workforce, possibly by about 5%.&quot; The publisher employs 950 staff at three sites in London, Glasgow, and Cheltenham.</p><p>She said that despite revenue growth in 2008, profits at the publisher had been hit by the recession, declining book market, the falling value of the stock market and in November the collapse of Entertainment UK. According to figures from Nielsen BookScan, HarperCollins&#39; sales grew 2.9% to &pound;147.5m last year.</p><p> The main areas for savings are in those areas that could be centralised or consolidated. These could include the finance and production departments. One option also being examined is rolling Collins into Harper Non-Fiction. Collins would retain its identity but staff would report into Harper Non-Fiction m.d. Belinda Budge.</p><p>HarperCollins Worldwide chief executive Brian Murray issued a memo explaining the developments in the US. &quot;Given the continued uncertainty in the market and soft revenues for the company, we need to take further action to align our cost basis with expected revenues,&quot; Murray wrote. &quot;I have asked each division to evaluate their business and begin the process to meet this goal. Unfortunately, in some HarperCollins divisions, implementing these plans will result in a reduction in workforce.&quot; Steve Ross, president and publisher of Collins in the US, is to leave the company as a result of the changes. </p>