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Cuts-hit journalists pass vote of no confidence in Reach bosses

Jim Mullen 1Journalists have passed a vote of no confidence in Reach plc executives after plans to cut 192 editorial roles were revealed by the publisher.

The National Union of Journalists says reps from across Reach passed the motion of no confidence in chief executive Jim Mullen, pictured, and the publisher’s senior management team at a group chapel meeting this afternoon.

A total of 426 roles have been put at risk as a result of the plan, with a number of senior editors at the group already announcing their departure this week.

The announcement came two weeks after the most recent company cuts were concluded, and the union says many of those at risk in the previous redundancy process “find themselves at risk again”.

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “Members and reps are devastated and angry at the decision to cut such a huge number of jobs. In some cases half of certain teams are going and in others people are not clear about the choices being made.

“The uncertainty created for everyone within the business and the impact for those who may be left behind is affecting everybody, whether they are at risk or not.

“For those who have just spent recent months at risk and then thought their job was secure, to now be told their livelihood is once again at risk and that they are back in the same stressful place is horrendous.

“Today’s no confidence vote is a reflection of the strength of feeling amongst journalists across the company, and how deeply worried they are about their job security and how the company’s strategy affects them and their families.

“There is a lack of hope and confidence in the decisions being made – about the direction of travel, the shape of the business in future, about the ever-changing priorities and about how the process is being handled.

“NUJ reps are committed to standing up for local journalism and to showing solidarity with one another in dealing with these cuts. The union continues to support members, including those involved in the latest round of redundancies.”

High-profile departures since the plan was announced include Hull Daily Mail and Grimsby Telegraph editor Jamie Macaskill, Teesside Gazette editor Ian McNeal, Adam Moss, who edits the Leicester Mercury, Coventry Telegraph and Northants Live, Burton Mail editor Julie Crouch and Nottingham Post content editor Michael Broomhead.

Alison Gow, the company’s interim audience and content director for video and audio, also announced she was leaving the day before the proposals were revealed.

In response to the NUJ’s comments, a Reach spokesperson said: “We will continue to work closely with all impacted teams and continue to be committed to delivering a sustainable business and a long-term future for our journalism.”