Union representatives are calling for editors to face the axe at two Suffolk newspapers instead of 14 other staff whose jobs are under threat.
Last week regional newspaper publisher Archant Suffolk announced the Ipswich Evening Star is to move to five-day a week publication and drop the ‘evening’ from its title resulting in the loss of 14 editorial jobs from the 91 strong workforce.
Those at risk of losing their jobs include photographers, sub-editors and feature writers. Newsdesk, sport, commercial and business writers will be unaffected.
In a statement to the company this week union members argued that if the editorial team is being merged then so should the editors’ roles, which includes two editors and two deputy editors.
Members have suggested alternative proposals to management that two of the editors’ job should go with the remaining editors working for both papers like the rest of the staff.
The changes will take effect from 23 January and will see the Star’s Saturday edition replaced by a new Ipswich edition of sister title the East Anglian Daily Times.
The company put the changes down to the economic downturn and East Anglian Daily Times editor Terry Hunt said last week the move would further strengthen the Saturday edition.
The NUJ’s statement read: “Regrettably, we think merging the editors’ posts is necessary, and is a viable alternative to what the company is proposing, which we think will be very damaging to both papers.
“We recognise the company has a difficult balancing act and we have welcomed its decision to try to keep the Star as close to a daily as possible. However, it has become a very top-heavy organisation and we believe that the current management structure is unsustainable given the costs of retaining it.
“This change is inevitable, and the current economic situation is unfortunately hastening the need for a brave decision by management to move to this point. If the papers need to become leaner, let’s start at the top, not the bottom.
“We have already said we would accept the loss of three ‘natural wastage posts’ as long as it doesn’t have an adverse impact on other staff’s workloads, and that leaves 11 jobs at stake. Ultimately, it’s 11 jobs versus two, and we believe those 11 are more vital to the future of the newspapers.”
A spokesman for Archant said: “We are currently engaged in a consultation with regard to the proposed changes in Suffolk editorial and are engaging constructively on any alternative proposal from employee representatives as part of that process.”