Regional publisher Newsquest has unveiled plans to cut up to 12 roles at a group of weekly newspapers in the North West.
Four staff photographers, two feature writer roles and two digital editor roles are among those under threat at the Warrington Guardian and its sister titles in Cheshire and Merseyside.
The plans would see the number of photographers at the Warrington Guardian, Northwich Guardian, Winsford & Middlewich Guardian and the Wirral Globe reduced from six to two, and the removal of the roles of web editor and digital media editor.
Other roles at risk include two content positions and two editorial assistant posts.
Two new roles are set to be created as a result of the changes, a production editor role and a news content editor post.
The plans were unveiled to staff on Thursday in an announcement by regional managing director Chris Hughes which has been seen by HoldtheFrontPage.
In it he said the proposals had been put forward “following a review of the Cheshire business cost base.”
A formal 30-day consultation period on the proposals commenced on Thursday, to be overseen by Warrington Guardian editor Hayley Smith, pictured.
Applications for voluntary redundancy have been invited with a closing date of Wednesday 11 November.
The National Union of Journalists, which is already preparing to ballot its members at Newsquest titles in Bolton over other planned cutbacks, has condemned the announcement.
A chapel spokesperson said: “It’s clear local management don’t want to make these cuts and it is being imposed on them by an editorial director whose entire remit seems to be cutting costs rather than improving our products.
“Under the guise of ‘making us more efficient for the web,’ he has cut our two internet specialists and insisted on savage cuts that will make it incredibly difficult to give our readers in print or online a quality product.
“It will also create an unbearable workload for the colleagues who remain.”
Jane Kennedy, NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, added: “Staff are completely stunned by this announcement. The Warrington Guardian is an award-winning newspaper with hardworking and dedicated journalists. Their only reward is either the dole queue or a massive increase of their workload, just weeks before Christmas.
“The NUJ hopes Newsquest responds favourably to our request to meet with us urgently to find a better solution for the all these titles in the North West.”