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Fresh redundancy fear sparks strike vote

Proposed job losses at the Birmingham Post & Mail have promoted union members to take steps towards strike action.

The National Union of Journalists members yesterday voted in favour of a ballot on industrial action by 47 votes to nil with one abstention.

Three jobs are set to go at the Mail – the latest in a series of redundancies – as part of a wider set of cuts across Trinity Mirror’s titles in the West Midlands.

It is believed that of the three that prompted the union ballot, two volunteers have already come forward and a third member of staff is likely to be redeployed.

The union chapel also passed a vote of no confidence in Post & Mail managing director Alistair Nee and editor-in-chief Roger Borrell.

Union organiser Miles Barter said: “The motion was that they are running a regime which was leading to the paper losing all its quality – and as a result they called on them to resign.

“There are only three jobs affected on this occasion but the chapel decided that enough is enough.”

Nine jobs were cut in October last year in a move which followed 20 the previous spring.

Elsewhere, three posts are set to be made redundant at the Coventry Telegraph, part of a total 22 jobs which are set to go – with natural turnover set to account for half of those.

A spokesman for Trinity Mirror Midlands said: “In September 2003, we announced a significant change programme designed to improve the performance of our Midlands businesses, based on a series of structural reorganisations. Our review has continued during the course of this year and further opportunities have been identified to increase performance and efficiency.

“As a result, we have announced a number of editorial redundancies across the Midlands region, as well as the creation of some new roles.

“Overall, we anticipate that 22 editorial roles will be affected, through a combination of redundancies and natural turnover. Where possible, we will seek to achieve these through voluntary redundancy and will also be creating three new roles in the business.

“A month’s consultation with staff and unions is already underway.”

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