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Regional publisher seeks redundancies at recently-purchased weekly

IWCPA regional publisher which took over a 133-year-old independent weekly in the summer is now seeking redundancies at the title.

Newsquest has confirmed it has opened a voluntary redundancy scheme at the Isle of Wight County Press, which it purchased in July.

The publishing giant has declined to say how many roles it is aiming to cut at the County Press, but HTFP understands that there have already been around 20 voluntary redundancy applications.

Around 70 staff are employed at the paper, of which around 18 are thought to be editorial staff.

The redundancy scheme is open to all staff except those currently employed in the paper’s advertising department.

The move comes shortly after the company announced earlier this month that it was promoting County Press editor Alan Marriott to the role of publisher.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “An announcement has been made at the Isle of Wight County Press inviting employees to apply for voluntary redundancy if they wish to do so.

“This is regrettable but forms part of our plan for the Isle of Wight County Press to have a sustainable future.”

Newsquest completed the buyout of the County Press in July after shareholders voted unanimously in favour of the move, despite calls by an island businessman, its MP and the National Union of Journalists for the deal to be delayed to allow an alternative local bid to be presented.

The County Press’s then chief executive Robin Freeman, who recommended the takeover, said at the time that “special arrangements would be put in place” to safeguard the “editorial independence and integrity” of the paper.

Andy Smith, newspapers organiser for the Nztional Union of Journalists, said: “If Newsquest have a plan for the County Press then they should share it with the staff so that the redundancy offer can be considered as part of a meaningful consultation over changes that will affect everyone.

“There is very real concern that the commercially valuable skills of journalists, some of whom who have worked at the County Press for decades, will be lost with the imposition of a one size fits all publishing model.”

11 comments

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  • November 20, 2017 at 8:50 am
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    Least surprising news of the year. No other industry would willingly lose employees’ skill sets and years of experience in this casual matter. Not that Newsquest is alone in this.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 9:51 am
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    Looks like Alan has his work cut out shedding jobs. Newsquest idea of a happy lead-in to Xmas.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 10:53 am
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    Well what a surprise, NQ move in, staff moved out.

    I think it says a lot about the prospects of the staff there and how unpopular the takeover was that “…..there have already been around 20 voluntary redundancy applications”
    Tells us all we need to know about how NQ are perceived as an employer

    Good wishes to those affected
    Good luck to the unaffected ad department staff( boy you’ll need it when 2018 budgets and targets are given out

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  • November 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm
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    The annual Scroogequest Christmas redundancy announcements. It will be happening at all its centres – it’s the same every year. Of course that’s no comfort for those facing the chop,

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  • November 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm
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    Four days ago:

    “We believe print has a big future…
    ” Newsquest has protected frontline reporting roles from job cuts…
    “We have lost talented sub-editors but it’s meant we have been able to invest.”

    Invest in what, precisely? In opportunities to asset-strip more titles?

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  • November 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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    What a shame, but no surprise sadly. Give it a few years, and most of the work will probably be done in Southampton…

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  • November 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm
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    All so sadly and horribly true, as many predicted or at least feared.

    Good luck to all CP staff as job hunting will be all the harder as it’s an island. Perhaps give up journalism? Few will want to move to the mainland. The CP is likely to be part run from a”hub” on the mainland.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm
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    @Geronimo – That’s the nub, being an island with a not-exactly soaraway economy. Have family there, so visit quite often, and it’s very nice place to live as long as you are of independent financial means.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 5:43 pm
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    I am surprised they didn’t wait until Christmas eve to make this announcement or am I being too cynical after too many years in the industry.

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