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Jobs fear as editions are cut at the Yorkshire Evening Post

Johnston Press is set to end 160 years of printing the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds in a move which looks likely to cut its five editions back to two and alter deadlines for journalists.

More than 40 press hall jobs are thought to be under threat as parent company Johnston Press moves part of the Leeds print operation to its £60m Dinnington plant in South Yorkshire.

Talks are being held between the company and print workers union Amicus, and the National Union of Journalists is keeping a watching brief for any effect the changes may have in the newsroom.

Editorial staff were told about the plans on Friday and given assurances about the future.

They fear that cutting the edition numbers to two – one for Leeds and one for Wakefield – could alter the way the newsroom works. Deadlines look set to be brought forward to 8am for the evening title.

No one from the company’s management team in Leeds was available to comment on the developments.

Father-of-chapel for the NUJ, Peter Lazenby, told holdthefrontpage: “We believe there are implications for editorial staff.

“It is an absolute scandal that a company like Johnston Press can come in and buy a group of Yorkshire papers and begin to dismantle.

“Like at every newspaper, circulations are falling as news is concentrated on the internet.

“They seem to think the only way to stop falling circulation is to cut.

“We believe the way to stop it is to invest.”

A statement from Johnston’s head office said: “Following a review of its print operations, Johnston Press plc has announced the proposed cessation of day printing at its Leeds press hall. As a result, 44 jobs are at risk of redundancy.

“Consultation is under way with those directly affected and their representatives.

“The company will make every effort to minimise the impact of this proposal on affected staff through voluntary redundancy and, where possible, by redeployment to alternative positions in the Group.”

The NUJ has around 130 members from the 160 editorial staff across the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Yorkshire Post.

The Yorkshire Post and Financial Times, which is printed on a contract basis, will continue to be printed from the Leeds base as both are broadsheet and it is thought the Dinnington press would not be able to work them into its print schedules.