Jobs are at risk after a regional publisher announced plans to close a subbing hub and transfer the work to another base 70 miles away.
The introduction of a new editorial system means Newsquest is proposing to close its production hub in Worcester, which produces titles for the Midlands South division, and transfer the work to a new copy editing unit in Newport, South Wales, putting up to 15 jobs at risk.
The move has been announced to sub-editors at the Worcester base, who have been told that there will be around seven subbing roles available in Newport, where the South Wales Argus is based, if they chose to move.
Titles produced in Worcester include the Worcester News, Ledbury Reporter, Malvern Gazette, Stourbridge News and Halesowen News and some of the sub-editors have already been previously centralised there from Stourbridge.
In an announcement to the sub-editors, Newsquest Worcester group editor Peter John said that the introduction of a new editorial system in the Wales and Gloucestershire areas meant efficiency savings could be made.
He said the company would try to avoid making redundancies and a consultation with affected staff members would take place until at least the end of this month.
The statement said: “Given the current and forecasted economic climate in the UK, all areas of the business are continually being explored to ensure we are as efficient as possible.
“The company has invested in a new editorial system in Wales and Gloucestershire region. This gives us greater flexibility, improves our news gathering facilities, and provides staff with upgraded equipment to better meet the ever-changing needs of our business.
“The system provides a more streamlined workflow for the production of pages, along with direct interfaces with our digital platforms. This has created efficiencies in a number of areas which will be outlined in detail in due course.”
The transfer of sub-editing work is set to begin on 28 October, starting with the Hereford Times and Ludlow Advertiser and with a phased roll-out across the Midlands South titles.
It is thought around seven jobs will be created at the unit in Newport, although the exact number will not be known until later in the consultation process.
The statement added: “I would like to point out that this has no reflection on anyone’s performance and is totally due to efficiency savings through the introduction of new technology and processes.”
Sub-editors working for the Midlands titles had previously been centralised in Worcester in 2010 in a move which nearly led to strike action by the “Stourbridge Ten”.
The company decided to use its existing subbing hub in Worcester for titles which were produced in Stourbridge, 27 miles away, which affected three sub-editors.