Photographers reacted angrily to the removal of the entire full-time photography unit at The Chicago Sun-Times and its sister publications as part of a move towards online video – captured by reporters using iPhones.

The decision to rehire four of the photographers – less than 15% of those made jobless – was hailed as a victory by their union the Chicago Newspaper Guild.

‘I think bringing some photographers back is a big win,’ said the union’s president David Pollard.

The union says the paper’s publisher has been given until 3 February to reinstate the photographers as part of the agreement.

In a statement, the union added: ‘Any photographer not returning to work will receive a lump sum of $2,000 if an individual photographer waives his or her individual rights to initiate legal action against the company.’

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John H White was among those hit by the cutbacks.

His images went on show in London in September.

The settlement was part of a wider deal reached with Sun-Times Media.