Regional publisher Johnston Press has insisted there will be ‘no overall reduction to current headcount’ from its plans to cut jobs at its subbing hub in Sheffield.
As reported on Friday, the National Union of Journalists is to ballot members for industrial action over proposals to dismantle much of the centralised production unit created nine months ago.
The company says it is planning to reduce 9.5 full-time roles within the subbing team, which is based at the Sheffield Star, with the union saying this amounts to half the staff working in the hub.
But the official announcement made to journalists by the company, which has now been provided to HTFP, said it aimed to minimise the impact by redeploying staff to other roles or through voluntary redundancy.
John Bills, managing director of Sheffield Newspapers and South Yorkshire Newspapers, said the company was proposing the re-organisation following a review of the current workflow in the sub-editing team.
His announcement said: “As a result of this proposal there would be a reduction of 9.5 full-time roles within the subbing team at Sheffield, however five new roles would be created and an additional 18 editorial roles are available within the North Midlands/South Yorkshire Region.
“Therefore as a result of this proposal there is no overall reduction to current headcount.
“Prior to any implementation, we will consult extensively on an individual and collective basis. During this consultation process we will explain the procedure, consider all alternatives, examine ways of mitigating the effects of this proposal, determine redundancy terms and address any other issues that may arise.
“We anticipate that this consultation process will be complete by the end of January 2011.
“In the event this proposal goes ahead, the company will endeavour to minimise the impact through re-deployment to alternative positions and voluntary redundancy.”
The union has said more than 50 NUJ members are affected by the plans and its ballot is due to begin tomorrow.