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Archant scales down job cuts plan after NUJ talks

Newspaper publisher Archant Norfolk has scaled back its plans for job cuts after talks with union representatives.

The company, which publishes the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, initially planned to make 20 editorial job losses but the figure has now been reduced to 13.

Redundancy notices have already been issued to a number of staff including photographers, sub-editors, features and sports writers as well as some inputters and a librarian.

However some photographers and sub-editors jobs initially under threat have been saved while a number of additional reporting posts have also been created.

Negotiations between management and National Union of Journalists representatives over the cuts have at times been fraught.

A letter about the redundancies issued to an NUJ representative was littered with spelling mistakes, while staff later passed an unofficial “no confidence” vote in editorial director James Foster.

But Pete Kelley, the NUJ’s father of chapel at Archant Norfolk, said this week that the union had now reached a settlement with the company.

“We have still got reservations about this but we feel they have tried to listen and we have come to a compromise figure,” he told the BBC.

Mr Foster said:  “Our proposals to staff were very clear in that we wanted to protect the number of frontline reporters and in fact we have increased the number of reporters both in the head office and our patches.

“I am pleased to say that we were able to achieve an agreement with the NUJ which was backed overwhelmingly by our staff.

“Our titles are showing year-on-year circulation growth and we are determined to protect that. But we also have to recognise the climate in which we are operating and we will be ensuring the long term stability of the company by the measures we have taken.

“Our reporters want to be out there, meeting people and our new technology – along with smart use of social media – will help them do that. These changes are very much about getting the best out of that opportunity – as well as working more efficiently within our production departments to produce better papers and websites.”