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Journalists to be balloted over industrial action

Journalists at Shropshire Newspapers are to be balloted over industrial action after it emerged that 12 staff could be made compulsorily redundant.

The National Union of Journalists chapel, representing staff at the Shropshire Star and its sister weeklies, has given management notice that ballot papers will go out this Friday. The result of the ballot is due on 18 February.

The NUJ said the positions under threat are the weeklies group editor John Butterworth, one other weekly editor, five reporters, two sub-editors and three editorial assistants.

NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley said: “The chapel will then decide, based on the result, where they go from there.

“The interesting thing is that the company has targeted the weeklies for compulsory redundancies.

“If they go ahead with this proposal, it will impact on trainees disproportionately because they make up the bulk of the weekly staff.

“One of the reasons behind the chapel’s balloting is because they are so concerned about the more vulnerable colleagues in terms of the trainees who have got their foot on the career ladder only to have it snatched it away.”

Parent company the Midland News Association announced in October that it was looking to shed around ten per cent of its staff across Shropshire Newspapers and Express and Star Ltd.

Overall redundancies at Shropshire Newspapers so far stand at 29 with 38 at Express and Star Ltd, where no compulsory redundancies are expected in editorial.

A further four or five voluntary redundancies are due to be confirmed and several casual classified staff are expected to leave Shropshire Newspapers by the end of this month.

The voluntary redundancy scheme will stay open until the end of August and could even be continued beyond that date.

The Stafford, Cannock, Lichfield and Late Final editions of the Express and Star will be printed at Shropshire Newspapers’ head office in Ketley from this week onwards.

Shropshire Newspapers had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.


Philip Glynn (03/02/2009 20:12:09)
they don’t have enough staff now, Newtown stories have to be given to them. The reporters are all good people
a big mistake