AddThis SmartLayers

Compulsory redundancies for Bristol newspapers

Editorial staff at the Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press have been told they face compulsory redundancies under the Aim Higher cost-cutting programme.

This is despite 42 people putting themselves forward for voluntary redundancy when 36 jobs were set to go.

The company says it needs to keep a certain mix of staff and this meant that up to 6.4 posts would go on a compulsory basis.

It is hoped that this might be brought down to 4.4 posts through redeployment.

The news was broken to staff at a consultation committee meeting yesterday.

Bristol United Press managing director Tim Kitchen said: “We had to get this right for the business. We need the right fit for the right job.

“We will start to talk to people next week. We recognise this is a difficult time and hence we have tried to communicate at all times throughout the process which has been going on.”

He added that the normal 30-day consultation process had now stretched into three months.

Susie Weldon, clerk to the Western Daily Press chapel, told HoldtheFrontPage: “On the one hand we are absolutely delighted because for a long time we were told that all 36 redundancies would be compulsory, so we delighted that the majority of the posts will go through natural wastage or through volunteers.

“But we are upset that when a further 19 people asked to go the company is still going to make 4.4 posts compulsorily redundant. We are very disappointed about that.

“Our argument is that we have a very talented workforce and we can’t believe that they need to force people out who want to stay.

“They should be able to find the 4.4 from the volunteers who want to go.”

Susie said a strike was not imminently on the cards as a vote taken in December in favour of strike action has now lapsed, but it was something that the chapel would consider if it was felt that the changes were being implemented badly.

The jobs cut decisions will be complete in the next two or three weeks but the ongoing sale of parent company Northcliffe may further affect staffing and organisation later this year.