The publisher is planning a reduction in the number of copy subs employed across the group with reporters in some centres writing stories directly onto templated pages.
It means a wholesale reorganisation of the six production hubs set up by the group last year with the hubs in Nottingham, Stoke and Plymouth at risk of closing altogether.
The NUJ has condemned the move as a “betrayal” of staff who took posts within the hubs rather than face redundancy, in some cases moving house in order to do so.
Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “Northcliffe management are guilty of gross incompetence in driving through a discredited hub system that anyone with any sense knew would fail, and now, just 18 months later, that is exactly what has happened.
“While we welcome a return of production back to its communities, this has come at yet another unacceptable cost – the loss of another key layer of experienced journalists and loading of more tasks on those left such as already overstretched reporters.”
“The actions are driven by the revolt of editors against a system that they always knew was flawed but failed to stand up to at the time. Now it is yet another naked grab for further unsustainable profits on the back of mass redundancies.
“The key question is how do Northcliffe managers expect the same quality and volume of content to be maintained within the law on working hours?”
Mr Morley claimed staff had been left “bewildered” by what the called the company’s “topsy-turvy actions.”
There has as yet been no further comment from Northcliffe Media.