Plans to axe a tenth of the workforce at a regional publisher which could also see the number of editions cut have been criticised by journalists, who say the quality of the titles will be undermined.
The Midland News Association, which publishes the UK’s biggest-selling regional daily the Express & Star, the Shropshire Star and a number of weekly titles, started a consultation earlier this month on making up to 90 redundancies.
It said the move was necessary in the face of continued difficult trading conditions but has come under fire from the Shropshire Branch of the National Union of Journalists.
The branch has written to the company in protest at the plans, which it says will see the Shropshire Star reduced from seven editions to five – with the early midday paper scrapped and the Powys and South Shropshire editions being merged.
Shropshire NUJ Branch chairman Tim Cook said: “Everyone in the trade knows that print media are facing tough times, but the Shropshire Star and its weeklies have so far been managing, where others are failing, to maintain their high standards.
“There’s no doubt at all that this is thanks to the quality and commitment of journalists the group employs.
“If these valuable papers are to have a future in the county, it must be built around this quality, not undermined by getting rid of it.”
The union has called on the publisher to ‘see the bigger picture’, saying that the more jobs it sheds, the harder it will be to regain its vital role in Shropshire life.
MNA currently employs around 900 people and it is not known how many of jobs under threat will be editorial posts.
Managing director Alan Harris said earlier this month that the company had to make cost savings in order to invest in the future of its publications.
He was not available for further comment at the time of publication.