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Five jobs at risk in North-West shake-up

Journalists at a series of daily and weekly titles in the North-West have been warned that five of their jobs are at risk and told there will be less editorial content in their papers in future.

Staff at the Bolton News and a series of associated weeklies have been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy by October 24, HoldtheFrontPage has learned.

If there are not enough applicants, journalists at the Newsquest-owned titles have been told a skills analysis assessment will be used as the selection criteria for possible compulsory redunancies.

Other titles affected by the shake-up include the Bury Times, Bury Journal and Leigh Journal. All reporters, subs and photographers are affected, with the exception of the sports staff at the Bolton News.

The proposed changes were set out in a letter to staff yesterday signed by Ian Savage, editor of the News and editor-in-chief of the weeklies.

It said the company was proposing to further restructure the editorial department to meet the needs of the business.

“This proposal is being considered following the continued difficult trading conditions, and due to the loss of advertisement volume, which will, as a consequence, mean a further reduction in pages and consequently content,” it said.

A formal 30-day consultation period with staff started yesterday.

One staff member told HTFP that the company should have offered to transfer people into currently vacant roles at Bolton and at the neighbouring Blackburn centre rather than request redundancies, and accused managers of “unsettling” staff.

It is understood that there are two positions vacant at the Bolton centre and two at the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in Blackburn, 13 miles away.

Mr Savage said: “While the consultation period is under way it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

The News was recently named North-West Daily Newspaper of the Year at the regional awards organised by the Society of Editors.


The Observer (16/10/2008 10:38:50)
What? Newsquest title and inept management – surely this must be a mistake?

Ivy Likes (16/10/2008 19:33:36)
Ha! The two are synonymous of course.
So it’s not just Newsquest South that’s blighted…