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'Compulsory redundancies' threat at Newsquest titles

Production and IT jobs are under threat in north-west England as Newsquest looks to further centralise its operations, it has been claimed.

The National Union of Journalists says that five sub-editors, four IT staff and some pre-press workers have been given notice of redundancy as the company looks to move production operations from Bolton to Blackburn, home of the Lancashire Telegraph.

The NUJ is also claiming the company is not seeking volunteers but moving straight to a compulsory redundancy scheme as well as raising concerns over the terms of any new contracts offered to remaining staff.

Earlier this year editorial staff on the Bury Times were moved to the offices of sister daily The Bolton News and Newsquest announced plans to close 11 newspapers in the region while creating “three regional editorial production hubs” among other changes.

NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley said: “Journalists working for Newsquest in the North West are punch drunk from the endless rounds of cost-cutting.

“They have been asked to take pay cuts, unpaid holidays, round after round of redundancies and forced to move from office closures.

“Only a matter of weeks ago journalists at Bury were evicted from their base in the town to move to Bolton.

“With journalists having moved heaven and earth to achieve this and keep the papers coming out, now the company kicks them in the teeth with a plan to separate the creation and production of news with yet another move.”

David Thomson, Newsquest Bolton and Bury father of chapel, added: “It is very disappointing that management have removed normal terms of reference which was the voluntary route and are instead immediately going into a compulsory redundancy situation.

“Given the fact the company has also announced reduced terms, the situation leaves a lot to be desired.”

No-one from Newsquest North West had responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.


BingoBango (08/05/2009 11:07:10)
There is no voluntary redundancy arrangement at Northcliffe either. It’s all compulsory, and at ever-reducing terms.