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Union hits out at possible MEN redundancies

The National Union of Journalists has criticised a planned restructuring at the Manchester Evening News which could lead to 10 editorial redundancies – saying the survival of some titles could be at risk.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear made the comments after proposals were announced this week by MEN Media to merge its editorial staff into a single team.

The restructure will see teams of reporters covering specific geographical areas, creating content for all MEN Media’s titles and platforms, and could see up to 10 staff made redundant – although some new roles will be created.

But Mr Dear said the move would lead to a reduction in the quality of the Trinity Mirror-owned titles and could threaten their survival.

He said: “This announcement will come as a kick in the teeth to those staff whose jobs are now at risk, particularly given chief executive Sly Bailey’s promise made just four months ago that ‘there is no redundancy programme planned’.

“What we’re seeing is another attempt at cost-cutting to inflate profit margins, but with newsrooms already cut to the bone, these redundancies will simply drive down the quality of the titles, ultimately threatening their very survival.

“The worry is that with the company scheduled to make further cuts in 2010, they may attempt a more savage redundancies round when they move staff to a new hub at Oldham, in September.”

The restructure is expected to be phased in shortly before MEN Media’s move to its new base in Chadderton, Oldham.

Combined newsdesk and production teams will be created under the proposals but there will be new ‘product champion’ jobs to ensure local knowledge is retained.

Two new roles focusing on the creation of high-quality, user-generated content will also be set up.

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said there were no plans to make redundancies at the beginning of March when the statement by Ms Bailey was made.

He said: “When Trinity Mirror acquired MEN Media at the end of March we said that we would review the business and consult with employees and their representatives over any proposals and this is exactly what we have done.

“The current restructure proposals could result in up to 10 redundancies from an overall editorial workforce of 142 – a reduction of 7pc – but we are hoping that the final number will be lower than this.”


WTF (14/07/2010 09:39:30)
Is it any wonder we are where we are when we have such weak leadership from the NUJ? A poor statement, which has been issued time and time again but which makes no difference. The NUJ’s problem is that it’s main purpose is now different to that of its members. The NUJ now needs to try and scare people to keep them members – keeping membership up is the top concern, whereas once the union’s main concern was to help its members and improve their conditions. ‘Cost cutting to inflate profit margins’ – talk about stating the bloody obvious.

Dave Mctosh (14/07/2010 10:15:25)
The NUJ are far more concerned with what’s happening in Gaza than to worry anout the people who pay their wages loosing their jobs.

Twiki (14/07/2010 10:57:02)
Sorry but the above two comments are absolute crap. The NUJ reps at the M.E.N work their absolute arses off to help staff, even coming in on their days off to try and help. And they do it all for no pay and quite possibly at the risk of being labelled troublemakers and losing out on promotions because of it.
I also know that the full time staff in the norther office are also dedicated and prepared to work long hours to help out reps.
If more people were active suporters of the union rather than sniped from the sidelines than the union would be more powerful

Laura Shannon (14/07/2010 11:57:47)
Twiki is absolutely right. WTF – you clearly have no idea what the NUJ reps do to help staff or you wouldn’t have made such an ignorant statement. I know reps who have stayed at work until near midnight negotiating hard for people’s jobs and better work conditions and they get zip for it. That’s their spare time they’re using up when you go home to eat dinner and watch TV. They get no extra pay and no thanks from people like you.

Hengist Pod (14/07/2010 12:08:22)
Hello Manchester! Welcome to the wonderful world of Trinity Mirror!

Yawn (14/07/2010 13:51:02)
The National Union of Journalists has criticised a planned restructuring at the Manchester Evening News….” – jeez, and in other news today on HTFP, a bear defacates in some woods!!

Creosote Arthur (14/07/2010 15:47:54)
Couldn’t agree more with WTF re: NUJ.
Sorry Twiki and Laura – you’re talking codswallop.

Hengist Pod (14/07/2010 17:12:10)
The NUJ is simply doing its best to help those working in an industry that is dying a slow lingering death.

metman (15/07/2010 13:45:24)
Hmm I left the union a while due to our rep’s ‘hard’ negotiations.
Publisher: We’ll give you two per cent rise.
NUJ rep: We want 5 per cent.
Publisher: Accept two per cent and keep you job.
NUJ Rep: Ok, two per cent it is.

Chris Youett, Esq, (16/07/2010 16:09:15)
Are these small but noisy critics of the NUJ actually members? The vast majority of the NUJ’s time & resources is spent on negotiating members’ pay & conditions. The whingers seem to have forgotten (or didn’t bother to check their facts) that the NUJ was de-recognised at many employers. Had it not been, most journalists would be earning at least an extra £5K a year. The NUJ is winning back recognition – and this would happen a lot faster if the moaners actually recruited some new members at their workplaces.