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Forty redundancies at Manchester Evening News HQ

MEN Media, the owner of the Manchester Evening News, is to make 40 redundancies at its city centre headquarters as part of a “wide-ranging series of reviews”. Nine are compulsory.

The 40 include nine voluntary redundancies in editorial – eight journalists and one clerical role.

The other job losses will be across various departments at the new Scott Place offices.

They form part of the MEN’s strategy to prepare for a digital future, which the company says will help refocus its structure to face the challenges of new and emerging media markets.

MEN Media comprises more than 20 daily and weekly paid and free newspapers and Channel M Television

Chief executive of parent company GMG Regional Media, Mark Dodson, said: “The past two years have seen the rate and pace of change in our industry accelerate beyond all predictions.

“As a company with a large proportion of its revenues linked to print businesses, it is now time to reshape the division for a digital future.

“This will mean that we are best able to face the demands of an increasingly competitive marketplace head on and with confidence.”

Last month MEN Media announced it was seeking voluntary redundancies in response to a fall in advertising revenues.

More than 80 requests were made for voluntary redundancy at the Manchester Evening News and its sister weeklies.

It is understood that the company has seen advertising profits fall, with recruitment advertising volumes down by 23 per cent in the past year.

The company was predicting further falls in the next two years – despite revenue growth in the digital businesses – and said the reviews were necessary to get the business into shape for the tough trading.

The company has reached agreement with the trade union, UNITE, on the redundancies in those areas covered by that trade union and also said that agreement has been reached on this year’s pay award for UNITE staff.

The National Union of Journalists had threatened to ballot for industrial action over compulsory redundancies, and about a 2.5 per cent pay rise which was announced at the same time as the job cuts.