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Unofficial ‘work-to-rule’ started over job cuts

Journalists opposed to plans to cut up to 20 editorial jobs under a restructure have started an unofficial ‘work-to-rule’.

The Archant Norfolk journalists are unhappy about proposals revealed by the publisher last month which are set to result in redundancies.

On Monday, some journalists at the affected titles, which include the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News and a number of weekly papers, started the unofficial ‘work-to-rule’ to highlight how much overtime is being done.

And editorial staff are also planning a vote of no confidence in management over the proposals, which have put a range of positions at threat of redundancy – including features writers, photographers, sports journalists and sub-editors.

Pete Kelley, Father of Chapel for the National Union of Journalists, said: “Individual people are doing the work-to-rule. We are just suggesting that they stick to their contracts so we can see how much work people are doing.

“We are expecting strong support for it because the anger isn’t confined to those parts of editorial where jobs will be lost. We are hoping it will be wide-spread.

“The anger really is not so much that people don’t want to lose their individual jobs but we feel these are good award-winning papers, and we don’t think we can maintain the quality of them with less staff.”

He added journalists hoped to avoid strike action over the plans but had not ruled it out as a last resort.

The vote of no confidence is now being drawn up and could be held in the coming days by all editorial staff, not just NUJ members, depending on how talks with management progress.

In announcing a consultation on the restructure, Archant said the proposals would lead to the creation of a new digital department, greater focus on weekly titles and an increase in the number of reporters operating ‘on-patch’.

The company had not responded to requests for further comment at the time of publication.