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Jobs to go at subbing hub, claims union

Journalists at a Johnston Press subbing hub in Sheffield will be balloted for industrial action over plans to cut jobs, the National Union of Journalists has said.

The union says the regional publisher is proposing to dismantle much of the centralised production unit which is based at the Sheffield Star and was only created around nine months ago with the introduction of the Atex content management system.

It said up to 10 jobs are now expected to be cut there, which is half those at the hub, while five roles will be created elsewhere.

More than 50 NUJ members are affected by the plans and the union says its ballot will begin on 19 January.

NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said journalists had resisted the creation of the Sheffield hub, warning it would affect their work and the quality of journalism.

He said: “Now, the company’s announcement of the dismantling of much of the Sheffield hub came out of the blue for members. After the initial shock, the mood has turned to anger.

“Many members put up with all the hardships that the company imposed on their lives in order to try to stay with the work.

“But all that effort has been thrown back in their faces by a company that is thrashing around adopting buzzwords and trendy business strategies with little thought to shoring up its newspapers’ core during difficult times.

“As usual, the timing the company is proposing for these changes to take place is all about railroading their untested plans through while staff are still groggy from the initial hit.

“But journalists at Sheffield are not prepared to let this happen and our NUJ chapel has taken the decision to ballot for action to defend members put at risk by a company greedy to keep up unsustainable profit levels.”

Johnston Press has declined to comment.