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Norfolk jobs saved after online protests

Regional publisher Archant Norfolk has reduced its number of planned job cuts by 20 after an online campaign.

The National Union of Journalists chapel said today that the company is now looking for 34 editorial redundancies from 179 across its newspapers and websites – down from the 54 announced earlier this month.

Last week the NUJ chapel accused the company of presiding over a farcical redundancy process and set up a Facebook page to campaign against the proposed cutbacks.

Archant, whose titles include the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, also plans to implement a new editorial system, enabling journalists to create and publish copy for both print and online, and merge newsrooms with one team supplying content for all products.

A message from the chapel posted on its Facebook support group page said: “We clearly welcome the company’s apparent climb-down in its announcement today.

The National Union of Journalists and your staff reps have worked together to argue forcefully that more jobs should be retained in a time of economic uncertainty and changing technology – both to keep our colleagues in work and to protect our titles.

“That is a victory for common sense. It means jobs have been saved until the end of the year.

“It also means more of us will be trained on the new technology.”

Archant Norfolk MD Stephan Phillips said: “We announced that we would consult on a potential of 54 redundancies and, following consultation with elected staff representatives, we have agreed to limit the redundancies to 34.

“We are committed to the editorial integrity and quality of our titles.

“The introduction of the new editorial content management system will help us to modernise our newsroom and further develop our award-winning titles despite the very challenging economic environment which we, like all other media owners, are currently facing.”


anglo48 (17/03/2009 12:27:09)
So 34 job losses is ‘a victory for common sense’? It doesn’t appear so from where I’m sitting.

paul (17/03/2009 12:31:52)
I can’t help thinking that these jobs are not ‘saved’, more that the axing has been delayed.

Lister (17/03/2009 12:55:07)
I think the lesson to be learnt here – and this has been mirrored right across the industry in recent weeks – is that if you put up a fight you save jobs. You might be delaying redundancies in some cases, you might have won one minor victory before an overall defeat. But if you don’t fight, if you just sit back and moan, then no one is going to help you if you can’t be arsed to help yourself.

andy (17/03/2009 13:56:23)
I stopped working for Archant Norfolk about 10 years ago and its papers were on a downward spiral then. Archant is a classic example of what happens when you put accountants in charge. By cutting the subs, it will be interesting to how low the firm can now set the bar for editorial standards and still get readers to hand over their cash for papers. The Evening News in particular has, for some time, been an embarrassment – badly designed, badly written, badly managed and badly subbed. If I was Archant I’d be doing everything in my power to make my products better, not cutting another vital component, from the editorial process.

Gordon (17/03/2009 16:49:49)
As I understand it, the NUJ chapel has now asked Archant’s management to go back to the drawing board with the entire redundancy process because it has been so badly handled. Part of the problem, the NUJ says, is that senior staff whose jobs are at risk are currently prevented from applying for other jobs. Meanwhile, some staff have been declared “safe” even though their job descriptions are virtually the same as colleagues who are “at risk”. So a complete and utter muggers buddle!! And those overseeing this shambles are the same managers who’ll be leading the newspapers to a bright and successful future. Hmmm