Two of the UK’s last remaining evening newspapers are to switch from on-the-day to overnight printing with the loss of 29 jobs.
Robin Burgess, chief executive of the family-owned CN Group which publishes both titles, says the move will give them “a longer shelf life.”
The plan involves outsourcing the distribution of all CN Group’s newspapers and magazines, putting all the group’s van drivers at risk of redundancy.
Those at risk include 19 drivers at the group’s Carlisle subsidiary Cumbrian Newspapers, nine at Furness Newspapers in Barrow and one at J Catherall & Co in Hexham, where the Hexham Courant is based.
A formal consultation period with all staff affected has now begun, with other staff to be consulted about changes in work patterns if the proposal is adopted.
Robin said the proposal would provide longer “shelf life” for the daily titles and allow newsagents to rationalise their morning and afternoon delivery rounds into one.
He said: “Both these changes should help us maintain copy sales of the News & Star and North West Evening Mail in difficult times.
“The print time would also allow us to outsource distribution, using the same distribution network as the national papers and save a considerable amount from our costs.”
However Robin also admitted the proposal was put forward with a degree of sadness.
He added: “These are positive moves to help secure the role all our titles play in their local areas, but it is sad because if we do go ahead we will be losing our drivers, many of whom have worked with us for many years.”