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Jobs at risk in new subbing hub plan

Regional publisher Johnston Press has announced plans to create a new subbing hub in a move which could mean long journeys to work for staff as well as job cuts.

Sub-editors working at titles in the company’s South Division were informed at the end of last week of proposals to create a centralised production centre in Horsham, West Sussex.

The move would affect those working at Portsmouth daily The News and weekly titles including the Chichester Observer, Hastings Observer, Worthing Herald, Eastbourne Herald and the Crawley Observer – with some staff having to travel more than 50 miles to reach the new hub.

Under the plans, sub-editors currently working in Portsmouth would face a two-and-a-half hour round trip each day to travel to the new unit in Horsham.

It is not known how many sub-editing jobs are at risk but Johnston Press said it would aim to limit the impact through voluntary redundancy and redeploying staff to other positions.

In a statement, the company said: “Following a detailed review of editorial production across the South Division, it is proposed to create a divisional production centre in Horsham, within Sussex Newspapers Ltd, handling work for all titles across the South Division.

“Prior to implementation of the proposed transfer of work we will consult extensively on an individual and collective basis.

“In the event the proposal goes ahead, the company will endeavour to minimise its impact through voluntary severance and redeployment to alternative positions within the company and the group.”

Last month, plans by Johnston Press to dismantle much of its centralised subbing hub in Sheffield were revealed, which has led to members of the National Union of Journalists voting to go on strike.