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Yorkshire subs' jobs "may be outsourced to PA"

Two major daily newspapers in Yorkshire may have their subbing operation outsourced to the Press Association, it has emerged.

The editors of both the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post attended a presentation at parent company Johnston Press’s Edinburgh HQ last week.

Union reps at the two Leeds-based titles say that when they asked management what the meeting was about, they were told that it was to discuss the possible outsourcing of subbing work.

Johnston Press has refused to comment on the union’s claims, but it is understood that outsourcing is one of a number of options being considered.

Peter Lazenby, joint father of the Yorkshire Evening Post/Yorkshire Post NUJ chapel, said: “We knew the editors were up in Edinburgh so we got a meeting with management.

“We were told they were having presentations from three firms, one of which was the Press Association, about possible outsourcing of subbing work.

“It was made clear to us that there are options and one of those is the outsourcing of subbing work at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post.”

The Press Association already has as a major base in Howden, East Yorkshire, which can be easily accessed from Leeds via the M62.

Mr Lazenby added that, if there were attempts to push through any compulsory redundancies as a result of outsourcing, the chapel would ballot for strike action.

“We’ve got a standing policy which we adopted this year. If they try to make any NUJ member compulsorily redundant, we would ballot for strike action immediately,” he said.

“That’s what we decided earlier this year when it became clear that the company was making changes.”

A spokesperson for Johnston Press’ head office said the company would not comment on what it called “pure speculation”.

There have also been claims by journalists that a centralised subbing operation is to be introduced across some of Johnston’s Hampshire and Sussex titles.

Johnston Press announced last Friday that two of its subsidiaries, Sussex Newspapers Ltd and TR Beckett Ltd, are to merge.

Divisional managing director Gary Fearon said the company was now entering into a formal consultation process with staff on the plans which is due to finish on 30 January 2009.

However Johnston Press yesterday refused to be drawn on whether a centralised subbing operation formed part of those proposals.


F Johnston (16/12/2008 08:58:58)
This is only half a story. The other two companies are abroad and it involves more than just Yorkshire subs.
And who would bet against a merged Leeds newsroom now, with the YP the most prominent of the JP dailies slated to go weekly.
Oh, and don’t forget the snappers who are due to get the bullet.
Another ‘life is local’ triumph for Johnston Press.

Future centralised sub (16/12/2008 09:37:58)
Centralised subbing is “pure speculation”? That’s not the situation as subs see it here on the ground in Sussex. There is going to be a centralised subbing centre and the “consultation” is just lip service.

Newshound (16/12/2008 09:58:41)
Only last Monday we were told there was no sword hanging over Leeds staff so we were totally shocked to find out that the editors were at this meeting on outsourcing just two days later. I haven’t heard this rumour about the YP going weekly. Could F Johnston please post any more info as he/she seems better informed than staff in Leeds.

Uncle Albert (16/12/2008 13:08:50)
Wait until John Fry gets there then you’ll see some changes. All profit no quality that what he likes.

Super Sub (16/12/2008 17:10:01)
Heard the one about the Irish papers subbed in France??
There’s no punchline, unfortunately. The above is true. Only a matter of time before MDs here in Yorkshire have their lightbulb moment and go down the same road…in either France or India. Happy days.

Dave Ross (18/12/2008 23:53:06)
You write: “There have also been claims by journalists that a centralised subbing operation is to be introduced across some of Johnston’s Hampshire and Sussex titles.” It is no claim. It is fact. That is what we were all told, despite JP’s refusal to be drawn on the matter for your article. I wonder why it is acting all coy now?

alanjones (04/02/2009 14:54:39)
Absolute pretensious aprentcice crap.
Journalism is pelelt with a ‘J’ not for for July or John. Sadly these buggers run the frannchide now. Bling news, bling sport, bling weather, bling everything wth a smile and a big ‘J’.
I’m convinved 7/11 wouöd now be treatead as entertainment.