A regional publisher has been criticised for recruiting people to “gather and prepare content” while describing the jobs as non-journalistic roles.
The National Union of Journalists’ chapel in Liverpool says the jobs should be recognised as journalistic roles so they can be included in its collective bargaining unit with the publisher.
The jobs in Merseyside were advertised at three of the publisher’s newspaper offices, in Southport, Widnes and Liverpool last month at salaries of between £13,400 and £15,000.
The advert said the successful applicants would be responsible for “gathering and preparing market-focused content direct from communities” for publication to readers across multimedia channels.
It added: “This is a non-journalistic role but you will be working closely with journalists and you will need to be self-motivated with the flexibility to work on multiple projects and meet a variety of deadlines. ”
Assistant Northern NUJ organiser Lawrence Shaw said local union reps were due to meet with the company about their concerns and were arguing that the jobs were actually trainee reporter roles.
He said: “The salaries are not very far away from what a trainee reporter there would be paid. I think the fear is that they are saying these jobs are not journalistic ones when they clearly are.
“They are absolutely entitled and would be encouraged to join the NUJ but we think the company are saying they are not part of the bargaining structure.
“We are not happy about that. As it happens, we are in the process of negotiating the house agreement with the company. We are hopeful that the company will see sense and say these jobs should be included.”
Lawrence added that the problem was not specific to Liverpool but affected other Trinity Mirror titles which were recruiting multimedia assistants.
A spokesman for Trinity Mirror declined to comment saying the company was in direct communication with the NUJ over the issue.