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Publisher asks staff to take voluntary redundancy

Staff working at newspapers across Newsquest London have been told they can apply for voluntary redundancy, it has been revealed.

An announcement was made to employees at papers yesterday by regional managing director Roger Mills telling them that due to ‘worsening trading conditions’, the company is accepting requests for redundancy.

Staff who wish to register an interest in this have until 5pm on Monday to make their requests in writing to the HR department.

The move affects those working at weekly titles across Newsquest London, which includes the Watford Observer, Bucks Free Press, Croydon Guardian, the Richmond and Twickenham Times and the East London and West Essex Guardian series.

In an announcement to staff, Mr Mills said: “Due to the worsening trading conditions the company will now accept requests for voluntary redundancy.

“These requests must be made in writing and be sent to the HR department by Monday February 28 at 5pm.

“All requests will then be reviewed. Final decisions will be at the management’s discretion.”

Mr Mills did not include details of redundancy terms or the number of volunteers the publisher was looking for in his announcement.

A spokesperson for the National Union of Journalists said it had asked for an extension to the timescale and numbers of proposed voluntary redundancies, along with the intentions of the company if they do not get enough volunteers.

She said: “As things stand we can’t recommend anyone working at the company should accept voluntary redundancy because people have to look into their own circumstances and the timescale set out by Newsquest is too short.”

Mr Mills was not available for comment at the time of publication.

13 comments

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  • February 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm
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    They seem to be wanting to act in a hurry. Not fair on the workers to be forced to make life-changing decisions in such a short period of time.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm
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    Worsening trading conditions my a***. Ask them about how much profit they are still making. This is nothing but greed. Destroying local papers so that accountants can tick boxes and make their bonuses. NQ management should hang their heads in shame at what they are doing in the name of capitalism.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm
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    Steady on Matk, you sound like Citizen Smith. Power to the people and all that but anyone with a modicum of sense stopped working for organisations like Newsquest a long time ago.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm
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    I don’t think they (or many regional groups for that matter) see any long-term future in local newspapers. So they are draining the the businesses of cash while they still can. From a financial point of view it makes sense, but is is a great shame if it emans revered local newspapers are wrecked. Which is what it does mean.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm
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    Got to agree with the comment from Mr Bunter. Newsquest is a third-rate organisation full of third-rate people. That’s why it’s business is going down the tubes.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm
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    Terminator, how can you call anyone ‘third rate’ when YOU can’t even tell the difference between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’? Moron.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm
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    Fair point John, but I’m not a words man, I count beans.

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  • February 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm
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    Isn’t or wasn’t Terminator X a member of Public Enemy, therefore making the John Connor reference from the Terminator film franchise also incorrect?

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  • February 28, 2011 at 11:18 am
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    Davy Gravy is dead right. Northcliffe, for instance, has admitted as much – in print, and on here – it’s not going to invest any more in its print products. They went down the featureless ‘branding’ route and when that didn’t work (as it never would, because that’s not what local readers want)they gave up. I feel most sorry for the readers who soon will have no access to real, unbiased, properly researched local news, and no means of holding anyone to account.

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  • February 28, 2011 at 11:25 am
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    John Connor – you sound like a nasty piece of work.

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  • February 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    Can I send my heartfelt thanks to Terminator X. Faced with redundancy, furlough, a wage freeze and a pension scheme that’s been ended, in an industry where there are nil jobs, it’s really heartening to know that my 30+ years of striving to work hard and uphold professional journalistic standards were a complete waste of time, as I am merely third-rate. And this from someone who doesn’t even know me. Your kind words make me feel a whole lot better.

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  • February 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm
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    Jo Bloggs – I think (but might be wrong) that Terminator X was referring to Newsquest management – not the journos.

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  • February 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm
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    Don’t take it to heart Jo. These things didn’t happen overnight. Newsquest has been grinding its editorial operations down for years. You’ve had ages to jump ship/do something else (in good times too). Ask yourself why you stayed so long – did you have to or did you want to? And Hilary you are wrong. People will always report and hold people to account, they just might not do it in the same way any more or for the same people. News will not die because Newsquest or Northcliffe dies.

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