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Bosses ‘confident’ of avoiding compulsory job cuts

Bosses at Newsquest in Oxfordshire have told staff they are “confident” of avoiding compulsory job cuts in a forthcoming subbing shake-up.

As reported last month, the regional publisher is planning to create a centralised production operation in Oxford for its Oxfordshire and Wiltshire titles, including the Oxford Mail and Swindon Advertiser.

At the outset, the company said that the plans were expected to result in the loss of up to six sub-editing jobs, but it now expects these to come from voluntary redundancies.

The news came to light in an internal “FAQ” document on the changes issued to staff yesterday, a copy of which has been passed to HoldtheFrontPage.

In answer to the question whether there been “any takers” for redundancy, the document states: “We have had many requests for redundancy illustrations and are giving people time to consider their options.”

On the question of what will happen if the company does not get enough volunteers, it states: “We are confident that we will. However, if we did not, we would consider alternatives, like natural wastage or compulsory redundancies.”

In the event of there being more applicants for voluntary redudancy than then company can afford to lose, it says it will give priority to applicants who currently work in Swindon and Devizes.

The new hub is due to be up and running by 31 March, with 23 sub-editors due to be based there.

The document also reveals that the number of job losses may drop to five if the head of the proposed new unit were to be recruited internally.

The post of regional head of production is currently being advertised on HoldtheFrontPage.

All sub-editors at Newsquest titles in the two counties are affected by the plans, apart from sports subs who will remain in individual centres.

Other titles affected include the Banbury Cake and the Wiltshire Times Series.