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Staff face jobs threat as reshuffle is announced at Newsquest weeklies

Jobs are under threat at Newsquest papers in High Wycombe, Watford and St Albans, staff have been told.

A new central features unit is to be created at the group’s Watford office, resulting in a number of editorial redundancies and the closure of the St Albans office.

The news comes at the same time as Newsquest staff in York are gearing up for potential job losses as their set-up at the Evening Press is also reviewed.

Staff at the Bucks Free Press, Watford Observer, Hillingdon and Uxbridge Times, Ealing Times and St Albans Observer would be among those affected.

All features, design and graphic artist roles at the titles look set to be made redundant, with staff encouraged to apply for posts at the new features unit.

Photography and subbing posts could also be reduced.

An exact figure on the number of job losses has not been announced and no one at Newsquest locally or nationally was prepared to comment.

News of the changes was broken to staff following a wide-ranging review across the businesses.

Difficult trading conditions and competition was blamed, and consultations with affected staff will begin next week.

One staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “There were problems throughout last year with increased workloads and now they are cutting more jobs which will make the situation worse.

“Morale is at rock bottom at the moment.”

NUJ assistant organiser Don Mackglew told HoldtheFrontPage: “The union is recognised at the Bucks Free Press but not at Watford or St Albans.

“Chapel members have met and we are advising them.”