Royal Mail to cut jobs as part of PR merger

More than 80 PR and comms jobs are likely to be axed as the Royal Mail Group undergoes a company-wide restructure.

The planned management buy-out of the group's Communications Services unit (PRWeek, 6 December 2002) has been shelved and the team is instead to be merged with the central corporate comms office and other PR staff across the group.

Royal Mail - currently losing more than £1m per day - employs around 250 comms staff and the group has plans to axe up to one third of these jobs, according to a company source.

A Royal Mail spokesperson would only say that: 'These changes are part of the overall company restructuring.'

An MBO for Communications Services - a semi-autonomous division that employs around 90 staff and competes against external agencies to handle PR for the group's divisions - was planned at the end of last year but this move has now been abandoned.

There are 13 staff in the main press office, six in the parliamentary unit, and the group's eight regional centres have around five staff each.

The remaining staff under threat are scattered across the group's 18 business units, which are being reduced to nine as part of the group's restructure.

Last month it was revealed that former FA chief executive Adam Crozier is to take over as chief executive from February this year. Alongside chairman Allan Leighton, Crozier will spearhead the group's restructuring programme, which will involve the loss of 30,000 people from a 200,000-strong workforce.

In November last year, the group halved its external PR spend to £2.5m per year, while doubling the number of agencies on its roster (PRWeek, 22 November). The contracts held by those agencies will not be affected by the restructure, the spokesperson said.

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