Job cut fears at GB News as three-month probation period runs out

Job cut fears at GB News as three-month probation period runs out

August 28, 2021

GB News stars fear the axe as three-month ‘probation’ period runs out – but Alastair Stewart is back six weeks after being kicked by a horse

  • Any cull would coincide with the return of chairman and presenter Andrew Neil
  • Mr Neil rumoured to be returning from home in South of France on September 6
  • Channel was dealt a blow when director of news John McAndrew quit last month

Fears are growing of a staff cull at fledgling TV news channel GB News as its three-month anniversary looms.

Sources at the network, which launched on June 13, fear there could be sweeping changes – and staff working within probation periods could be let go.

With the station originally due to go on air later in the year, there is now concern among employees that after launching early, the first 12 weeks was used as an experimental period and some staff will now pay a price. 

Any departures would also coincide with the return of chairman and presenter Andrew Neil, who is rumoured to be taking up his role again on September 6.

While he and the station are remaining silent, it would mean that he would have had two months away from GB News. 

Launching the show back on June 13 Andrew Neil (pictured centre in GB News studios) gave a five minute introduction for viewers, saying the network would concentrate on ‘the stories that matter to you and that others are neglecting’

He is understood to have been at his home in the South of France.

One source said: ‘Everything was set up in a rush, it was a brand new venture so things were always bound to go wrong. 

‘These things take time to settle down but there is a fear that jobs could go, that staff will be replaced.

‘It’s typical of a new set-up like this but it doesn’t make things any less of a worry.’

The station was initially hit by an advertiser boycott and plagued by technical issues. While many of the glitches were blamed on an external technology supplier, it was still embarrassing for bosses and presenters. 

The channel was dealt a further blow when director of news John McAndrew quit last month.

His resignation followed presenter Guto Harri’s suspension for taking the knee on air in solidarity with England footballers. 

Andrew Neil is taking a break from GB News – but is expected to return September 6

He subsequently quit the station. However, GB News was yesterday buoyed by the return of presenter Alastair Stewart, 69, who is back six weeks after breaking his hip when he was kicked by a horse.

The former ITV News anchor delighted viewers yesterday when his show Alastair Stewart And Friends returned to the screens.

Stewart, who is determined to hold the GB News team together, said: ‘Delighted to be back after six weeks. So this horse knocked me over and I broke my hip and went to hospital.

‘It’s been a nightmare and the world has gone bonkers in that time. I am delighted to be back here in GB News.’

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