AddThis SmartLayers

All editorial staff at daily facing axe risk, union says

nujlogoJournalists have launched a campaign to save jobs amid claims all editorial staff working on a daily newspaper have been put at risk of redundancy.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Burton Mail have contacted more than 100 prominent local people in a bid to save jobs at the title.

HTFP understands 10 editorial staff working at the Mail have had their roles put at risk of redundancy as part of cuts by owner Reach plc, which will see around 550 jobs go across the country.

It is understood at least one reporter role will be lost in Burton, and it is possible other roles will go too.

The Mail’s NUJ chapel has now sent a plea to more than 100 leaders of civic and public life and contacts in the paper’s circulation area in East Staffordshire, South Derbyshire and part of Leicestershire.

The note calls on its recipients to voice their concerns about the planned cuts to Lloyd Embley, Reach’s group editor in chief, and Alan Edmunds, the company’s chief operating officer.

In it, the chapel argues that staff cuts and potential changes such as include template page designs, more generic centrally-produced pages and fewer local news pages will “have a serious impact on the paper’s ability to stay a well-respected and powerful voice for the town and surrounding area”.

Kevin Palmer, chair of the NUJ’s Derby and Burton branch, said: “I am pleased and proud that our members at Burton have stood up for themselves against the might of Reach, the largest news publisher in the UK and its savage proposals.

“It is right that those in public life and readers know how these cuts will affect staff and the paper’s ability to report what is happening and hold those in authority to account.

“Staff worked very hard during the lockdown to keep people informed and it is deplorable that Reach, which received taxpayers money to furlough staff and imposed a pay cut, should reward them in this way.

“I hope that other chapels will be inspired by Burton’s example and follow suit to garner public opinion and show Reach the error of its ways.”

A Reach spokeswoman said: “Reach continues to consult with colleagues and trade unions over the proposed changes which are subject to a minimum-45 day statutory consultation period, so no further detail will be issued.

“The pandemic has seen significant declines in local advertising, so these changes are required and are about us operating more efficiently to protect local journalism and our news brands for the long-term.”