Opposition leaders at the Welsh National Assembly are expressing concern over the future of newspaper production in Swansea.
They have sent a joint letter to Northcliffe Newspapers following reports that the company could transfer printing away from the city.
South West Wales Publications, which publishes the South Wales Evening Post, the Llanelli Star and the Carmarthen Journal, is proposing to close the Swansea press and move production to other Northcliffe centres. The company has presses nearby at Staverton and Bristol.
The three party leaders – Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales), Nick Bourne (Welsh Conservatives) and Mike German (Welsh Liberal Democrats) – fear that closure could lead to the gradual erosion of a local news service in south-west Wales.
The company has begun a 30-day consultation period with the 67 staff who work at the Adelaide Street press, but stress that no decision has been made.
In their letter to Northcliffe’s managing director Michael Pelosi, the politicians warn that the move to end printing of the South Wales Evening Post and sister titles in the city would be “a retrograde step” and “yet another blow to the newspaper industry in Wales”. They also call on Northcliffe to invest in print facilities for Swansea.
The threat to jobs in Swansea comes amid growing difficulties within the Welsh media industry, following cutbacks at Trinity Mirror titles in Wales, and the prospect of job losses at BBC Wales and ITV Wales.