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Journalists ballot for industrial action over cuts

A ballot for industrial action will be taken by Cumbrian journalists next week over proposals to cut four editorial posts.

The North West Evening Mail, based in Barrow-in-Furness, is one of the newspapers in the CN Group facing a cut in the payroll after the company announced it was looking shed 40 staff.

Ballot papers will go National Union of Journalists members next Friday to give them the legal right to take action if negotiations break down.

The NUJ said that chapel members at the Evening Mail were worried that the current proposed redundancies might be the first of several such announcements.

NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley said: “The chapel is determined to fight any compulsory redundancies.

“They are not prepared to see colleagues picked off and their workload fall on the shoulders of those who remain.

“Health and safety is already under threat from long hours and journalists on the North West Evening Mail fear that the planned reorganisation will make things worse.”

Notification of the ballot, set to go out to members on January 2, has been sent to the company.

CN Group chief executive Robin Burgess was unavailable for comment.

Referring to the proposed job cuts, he previously said: “The plan will ensure stability and our survival next year, but they do depend on present levels of activity continuing.

“If this does not prove to be the case, we will have to review the detail of our plan. “The consultation with staff on redundancies is going to make the next few weeks very difficult and I appreciate it is not going to be easy for those in the ‘consultation’ pool, but I have no doubt that these moves are essential and will be an important part of ensuring the long term stability of the business.”