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Journalists to be balloted over subbing changes

Journalists at the Blackpool Gazette are being balloted for industrial action over changes to working arrangements resulting from the introduction of a new content management system.

The National Union of Journalists is sending out ballot papers to 37 chapel members at the Johnston Press-owned daily next week.

The union says the dispute concerns the company’s “failure to consult meaningfully over proposed changes to working arrangements and failure to guarantee there will be no compulsory redundancies.”

It is also demanding assurances on staffing numbers, pay, grading and status for those affected by the proposed changes.

NUJ North of England organiser Chris Morley said: “A total of 37 chapel members are being balloted and we plan to send ballot papers out on 16 February. The ballot is due to close on 2 March.”

The company is currently rolling out its new Atex content management system across all titles.

It will allow reporters to write stories directly onto templated pages, as well as writing headlines for both the newspapers and the web, thereby reducing the need for sub-editors.

A Johnston Press spokesman said: “The Blackpool Gazette and Herald is introducing a new editorial content management system and the NUJ have given notice that they are to ballot for industrial action.

“They have suggested that the company is failing to conduct meaningful consultation. This is incorrect. Local managers will continue to communicate and consult fully with unions and staff as appropriate.”


prionmonkey (11/02/2010 12:08:08)
Meaningful consultation is a joke. It can’t be meaningful when the bosses don’t yet know how many people they are going to need, going to get rid of and even what the staff are going to do properly! They are busking it and they are bringing this in to get rid of staff.
Everyone in JP should strike. End of.

Concerned sub (11/02/2010 12:53:01)
I’ll just await the first of many libel actions caused by reporters writing stories “directly onto templated pages”….

Bob Jacob (11/02/2010 13:13:38)
As a former printer Reporters were always regarded as slapdash, the Subs were always on hand to clean up their efforts. Best of luck at the Gazette – you will need it.

All Subbed Out (11/02/2010 13:31:30)
As ‘the NUJ’ is a singular entity in the above sentence, it should read “has given notice that it is to ballot… The union has suggested that…” etc. At least from its statement we now know how much importance Johnston Press places on grammar and accuracy. Bye-bye, subs.