Sub-editors working at a Newsquest centralised production unit have been told their jobs are at risk of redundancy, just months after it was created.
The company announced plans last October to set up the subbing hub at Southampton daily the Southern Daily Echo.
The move resulted in five job losses at Brighton-based sister title The Argus whose production operation was switched to the new unit.
Now around 20 sub-editors working in the hub have been told that four posts will be cut, while a reorganisation of the Echo’s sports desk will see a further position axed.
The move was announced to journalists by editor-in-chief Ian Murray and the National Union of Journalists’ chapel at the Echo will meet today (Thursday) to consider its options, which could include industrial action.
In an announcement to staff, Mr Murray said the subbing changes were being proposed due to ‘the need to seek greater efficiencies’ because of continued trading conditions.
He wrote: “These proposed changes, if implemented, are projected to lead to the loss of four full time equivalent news subbing posts.
“Additionally it is proposed to streamline the sports department management team, which would result in the loss of one full time equivalent position.
“The proposed changes will include the creation of one extra assistant chief sub editor at Southampton to oversee pages from the Brighton/Sussex centre.”
A 30-day consultation on the plans begins on 14 March.
David Brine, NUJ representative at the paper, said: “It is deeply disappointing to find out about more jobs going. It just seems there’s a real climate with cutting everything back to the bone in Newsquest at the moment.
“I don’t want to rule anything in or out at the moment. I need to see what the feeling of the members is.
“We have had seven days of strike action here in the last four months and some of our grievances about pay are still unresolved.”
Journalists at the Echo have held a number of strikes over pay, while NUJ members at The Argus walked out over the centralised subbing plans.
Mr Murray declined to comment further.