Tuesday, 2 November 2010

NUJ accuses Northcliffe of 'betraying loyal staff'

The NUJ has condemned Northcliffe Media's announcement that more than 50 editorial staff may be made redundant as part of a raft of changes to its six nationwide "superhubs" which handle the production of its regional newspapers.

The union says the creation of the "superhubs" last year resulted in "swathes of redundancies at that time, with some staff having to go through huge upheaval, moving their homes and families, and others having to undertake long commutes in order to keep their jobs."

It says the NUJ warned "that this move would be destructive with the loss of crucial local experience and the remote nature of operations from the communities they were seeking to serve. This has been a betrayal of loyal staff who were forced to make hugely difficult choices to keep their careers at the cost to their personal and families lives."

HoldtheFrontPage has reported: "Some of the page-planning and design subbing roles, originally moved to the hubs as part of the previous shake-up, are set to return to individual newspaper centres."
NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser, Chris Morley said: "Northcliffe management are guilty of gross incompetence in driving through a discredited hub system that anyone with any sense knew would fail, and now, just 18 months later, that is exactly what has happened.

"While we welcome a return of production back to its communities, this has come at yet another unacceptable cost - the loss of another key layer of experienced journalists and loading of more tasks on those left such as already overstretched reporters.

"This is hugely damaging – not just for staff who have been left bewildered by the company's contradictory actions, but also, crucially, for the cities served by the affected titles. In Nottingham, for example, the Nottingham Post now has only 11 reporters compared to 25, four years ago.

"The actions are driven by the revolt of editors against a system that they always knew was flawed but failed to stand up to at the time. Now it is yet another naked grab for further unsustainable profits on the back of mass redundancies.

"The key question is how do Northcliffe managers expect the same quality and volume of content to be maintained within the law on working hours? As usual the NUJ will be working hard to guide its members through this terrible mess and to defend them as much as possible against the damage being done to their own titles."

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