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MPs call on Trinity Mirror to think again on jobs

Labour MP John McDonnell has tabled an Early Day Motion condemning proposed new cuts at Trinity Mirror newspapers.

Thirteen other MPs have backed his plan to oppose any cuts, fearing they would lead to poorer coverage of local politics.

His EDM, a Parliamentary petition to the House of Commons, also voices fears that plans by Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey to protect the company’s position in what is expected to be a tough year ahead, would damage local demoncracy and accountability.

The MP for Hayes and Harlington is calling for adequate resources and for the company to abandon plans for change.

He is backed by Grimsby MP, journalist and broadcaster Austin Mitchell.

Both are officials of the National Union of Journalists’ Parliamentary Group.

The Motion reads: “This House is concerned at the recently announced plans to cut editorial jobs at Trinity Mirror newspapers; notes the fact that the company made £250 million profit last year; believes that cutting jobs in news will fail to address circulation decline; further believes that such moves will lead to poorer coverage of local politics and community issues, thereby damaging local democracy and accountability; and therefore urges Trinity Mirror to abandon its plan to cut jobs and to provide adequate resources to ensure all its titles maintain a high standard of editorial coverage.”

Other supporters so far include Pete Wishart, Mike Hancock, Hywel Williams, Lynne Jones, Bob Russell, Elfyn Llwyd, Gregory Campbell, Martin Caton, John Cummings, Peter Bottomley, David Taylor and Robert Wareing.

A spokesman for Trinity Mirror said: “The media industry is facing a slowdown in advertising markets and we are considering a number of options to address this within Trinity Mirror.

“That review is ongoing, and while external parties can speculate about its outcome, no decisions have yet been made. Further details will be given to staff once the review has been concluded.

“Our aim is to protect our businesses and newspapers, and this of course means maintaining editorial quality as well as controlling costs.”

A series of “no confidence” votes in Sly Bailey’s strategy have been sent to shareholders and directors from National Union of Journalists chapels across the country.

The union is working with personnel staff at the company to determine the exact nature of planned redundancies. A ballot on industrial action remains a possibility.

The company has decided to take “further steps to protect its position”, and to review measures which will help it postpone incurring costs – or reduce existing ones.

The plans follow previous initiatives to reduce costs in the past two years.

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