Plans to axe 17 jobs at a group of weekly newspapers may have to undergo a rethink – after more people applied for voluntary redundancy than the number of roles being reduced.
As previously reported on HTFP, Johnston Press is seeking to cut up to 17 jobs from across its Yorkshire Weekly Newspapers division as part of a restructure – but it is understood that 21 people have applied for redundancy.
As a result the company may have to refuse some applications, or alternatively create four new roles so all 21 applications for VR can go through.
Its Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper group chapel issued a statement voicing concern over impact of the proposed cutbacks, claiming the backing of 50 community representatives including local MPs and business groups.
The NUJ has confirmed it is still in discussions with JP over the exact number of redundancies.
A Johnston Press spokeswoman said: “A number of applications for voluntary redundancy have been received in Yorkshire and those applications are currently being considered.”
When the redundancies were announced, a YWNG chapel spokeswoman said: “Our members believe passionately in the importance of local journalism but are being prevented from giving readers the level of news and sports coverage they deserve because of a lack of staff and investment in our papers – and any further jobs cuts will only add to this problem.
“The support we have received from the community shows that the wider public also values local journalism and the work our members do.”
The chapel claimed that successive cutbacks had led to the closure of seven of YWNG’s eight district offices and a cut in the number of editorial staff on the eight papers from 52 to 22.
In the letter to Ashley, it questioned how the papers would continue to cover local elections, council meetings and the courts or run campaigns if further cuts were implemented.