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Union to boycott newspaper awards

Journalists working for the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Evening Star are to boycott the companies’ in-house awards ceremony.

The move follows a second wave of editorial redundancies in as many years at the Archant Suffolk papers.

Six people were made redundant at Archant Suffolk’s Ipswich headquarters as part of a cost-cutting drive.

The National Union of Journalists is claiming that a number of journalists had their pay cut and several freelance contributors were dropped.

It said the job losses came after editors Terry Hunt and Nigel Pickover told staff that sports coverage and sub-editing of the two titles were to be merged to “increase efficiency”.

While staff consultation over editorial redundancies was taking place, the annual group-wide “Archant Awards MusicFest” was announced, to be held in the grounds of Essex stately home Audley End.

The union said that staff were also upset to see that a revamp of the 17 awards meant they contained a single “Editorial Person of the Year”, encompassing the entire spectrum of writing, subbing and photography – instead of separate categories for each discipline.

Archant declined to comment on the union’s plans.

But awards committee chairman Ian Davies said: “The awards are a succesful way to promote excellence and to highlight developments and successes across the business. Over the years many journalists have had their contribution and commitment recognised as a finalist or winner at this annual event.”

The call for the boycott was made by the NUJ chapel at Archant Suffolk, and although the union is not recognised, members said today that they had to act.

A union representative at the papers said: “Managers have shown their contempt for this part of the workforce by continuing to trumpet how great the awards are while, at the same time, telling some people they no longer have jobs.

“We are calling on all NUJ members to boycott the awards to express our anger and frustration at the way journalists here are being treated.”

A recruitment campaign by the NUJ at Archant Suffolk means journalists there hope soon to join their colleagues at Archant Norfolk in earning recognition.

  • There are three other ‘people’ categories at the Archant Awards which journalists and photographers can enter along with seven ‘product categories’ relevant to journalists and photographers.