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Regional publisher’s cuts put more than 50 journalists at risk, union claims

Laura DavisonMore journalists have been put at risk of redundancy in cuts by a regional publisher, union bosses have claimed.

Earlier this month, HTFP reported that a total of 46 journalists at National World were under threat and would have to reapply for 14 newly-created positions with the company.

The National Union of Journalists has now estimated that a total of 54 journalists across the group are being put at risk of redundancy, with 34 editorial roles set to disappear.

Among those at risk are five deputy editors and three audience editors who are responsible for running the newsdesks of National World’s eight city daily titles – the Blackpool Gazette, Edinburgh Evening News, Lancashire Post, Portsmouth News, Sheffield Star, Shields Gazette, Sunderland Echo and Yorkshire Evening Post.

The NUJ has criticised what it described as the “poor handling of processes” related to the restructure, claiming members have reported varying consultation deadlines shared by management and some consultation meetings lasting only 15 to 20 minutes.

It also says there is no minimum payment being proposed for journalists made redundant with less than two years’ service.

NUJ national organiser Laura Davison, pictured, said: “Members have been blindsided by their treatment throughout this difficult time.

“Through the consultation the union has asked National World for detail on the level of savings the business is hoping to make alongside information about site revenues to help inform negotiations.

“Despite this, the company has failed to share necessary information, with members left distressed as they face redundancy with little clarity about the strategic direction of the business.

“Dedicated journalists deserve fair treatment but without a willingness to meaningfully engage with the union on the process and ways to mitigate redundancies, National World is sending a message to staff that it does not value the very people who have invested their talent and skill into the company.”

A National World spokesperson said:  “National World is consulting with individuals directly impacted by restructure proposals and we recognise that such processes are difficult for all involved.

“We are fully aware of the legal requirements in this regard and are fulfilling those obligations.”